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Full text of "Original character sketches"


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WERNER'S * 
READINGS® 
RECITATION 


No. Character 
3 Sketches 


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EDG AR S WERNER 

■ ' • - NEW YORK 



NEW YORK 

EDGARS. WERNER & CO. 

PUBLISHERS 

Copyright, 1891, by Edgar S. Werner 




ACTING MONOLOGUBS 

BY LIVINGSTON RUSSELL. 
ENGAGED. Price, 25 cents. 

Romantic, humorous monologue for a woman. A young woman, who has 
just become engaged, calls her departing lover back several times, and then 
falls into a gushing and hysterical reverie. She ports over her love-letters, 
plans how their room will be arranged, and runs on! stage singing theLohen- 
grin Wedding March. Full business given. 

CUPID'S VICTIM ; or the TIMID MAN. Price. 25c, 

Humorous monologue for a man. A bashful man reads up on courting and 
practices before a dummy girl. Very full business given. Three illustrations. 

AN IMPECUNIOUS ACTOR. Price, 25 cents. 

Humorous monologue for a man, describing the tribulations of a stage- 
struck youth who goes into raptures over his "art," etc. 

THE CLIMAX OF A CRIME. Price, 25 cents. 

Tragic monologue for a man. Old man make-up. A murderer, having gone 
into a hole to bury his victim, is shut in and can not escape. He goes mad 
in his living tomb; his various victims appear before him, and he finally 
stabs himself. Complete business and stage-directions. 

THE DEATH DREAM. Price. 25 cents. 

Intensely dramatic monologue for a man, from the play "The Bells," played 
by Sir Henry Irving. An inn-keeper, who is also the burgomaster, murders 
a guest for gold and burns the body in a lime kiln. On his daughter's wed- 
ding night he in a dr«am goes through all the minutiae of the murder, 
passes through terrible suffering and dies. Five full-page illustrations. 
Full business. 

THE " COMING OUT" OF MISS CUMMINGS. 25c. 

A breezy and humorous monologue for a woman. An up to-date " bud " of 
seventeen, from the West, makes her debut in New York. She does not take 
kindly to society's ways and to the addresses of the stylish men, but i refers 
Montana wa\s and "Jimmie, of Missoula Gulch." Affords opportunity to 
introduce various specialties. Full directions for stage, and full business. 
Three full page illustrations. 

THE GREEN-EYED MONSTER. Price, 25 cents. 

Humorous monokgue for a woman. An actress, in making her debut, 
misses the presence of her lover, and has a fit of jealousy and of the blues. 
Ends happily. Affords opportunity for varied expressional work. 

FOR GOD AND COUNTRY. Price, 25 cent* 

Historical, patriotic, and tragic monologue for a woman. 1 *.»,ed Cross nurse 
describes the scenes on the battle-field at Santiago. Herers to Gen. Wheeler 
and to Col. Roosevelt. Unusually elaborate directions for producing various 
war-effects, and full business. (Every reciter should have this monologue 
for the valuable stage-iessons it gives, even thrugh he does not cpre for the 
monologue itseif .) Three full-page illustrations. Costume of a Red Cross 
nurse. 

VIVA CUBA LIBRE! Price, 25 cents; 

4. patriotic monologue for a woman. A dramatic setting of incidents con- 
nected with the patriotic daring of Paulina de Ruiz Gonzales— the Joan of 
Arc of Cuba; together with the Introduction of historical matter regarding 
the sufferings of the Cubans during the struggle for liberty. 

JUST LIKE ONE OF THE FAMILY. Price, 25 cents. 

William Handy, living with friends but considered 41 just like one of the 
family," is asked to look after the house during the absence of his host and 
hostess on a call. He promises himself a quiet evening of intellectual en- 
joyment, but is aroused first by the frantic bawling of their baby, by the 
entrance of the coalman and by the cries of their pet cat, dog and parrot. 
When upon the verge of nervous collapse, his friends return. Intei eely 
humorous. 

Any of the above sent post-paid, on receipt of the price, by the publishers, 
EDGAR S. WERNER & CO. « Ea^oth^Street. 



WERNERS 

Readings and Recitations, 

No. 3. 

ORIGINAL CHARACTER SKETCHES 

BY 

GEORGE KYLE 

AND 

MARY KYLE DALLAS. 




EDGAR S, WERNER & COMPANY 

NEW YORK 

Copyright, 1891, by Edgar S. Werner 



/ 



CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

Alphabetical Sermon. — George Kyle 28 

Anatomical Tragedian, The.— George Kyle 9 

At the Altar.— Mary Kyle Dallas 113 

At the Rug Auction. — Henry Baldwin 124 

Aunt Betsy on Marriage. — Mary Kyle Dallas 46 

Aunty Doleful's Visit.— Mary Kyle Dallas 81 

Aurelia's Valentine. — Mary Kyle Dallas 121 

Bessie's Dilemma. — Mary Kyle Dallas . 117 

Billy's Pets.— George Kyle . 14 

Broken Dreams.— Mary Kyle Dallas 36 

Burglar's Grievances, The. — George Kyle 3 

Catching the Cat. — Margaret Vandegrift , 170 

Caught.— K. E. Barry itft) 

Classical Music. — George Kyle 29 

Cleopatra's Protest.— Edward L. Keyes 17") 

Coriauna's Wedding. — Mary Kyje Dallas 74 

Dawn on the Irish Coast —John Locke 140 

Delancey Stuyvesaut and the Horse-Car. — George Kyle 5 

Dentist and Patient.— George Kyle 28 

Different Ways of Saying Yes 13:5 

Difficult Love-making. — Will Carleton 131 

Dream, A.— Mary Kyle Dallas Ill 

Dunderburg Jenkins's Forty- Graff " Album.— George Kyle 24 

Dutifuls, The.— Mary Kyle Dallas 86 

Father Paul.— Mary Kyle Dallas 33 

Fashionable Hospitality. — Mary Kyle Dallas 92 

Fashionable Vacation, A.— M;iry Kyle Dallas , 51 

Felinaphone, The.— George Kyle 26 

Fireman, The. — R. T. Conrad 152 

Fisherman's Wife, The 160 

> iii 

5 



iv CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

Fortune-Teller and Maiden. — Mrs. Mary L. Gaddess 158 

Frightened Woman, A. — Mary Kyle Dallas 99 

Good Little Boy and the Bad Little Boy, The.— George Kyle . . 11 

Great Man, A. — Mary Kyle Dallas 120 

Her Fifteen Minutes. — Tom Masson 155 

Her First Steam-Engine. — Mary Kyle Dallas 73 

Her Heart was False and Mine was Broken. — Mary Kyle Dallas 115 

Her Preference 182 

High Art and Economy. —George Kyle 20 

Hoolahan on Education. — George Kyle 8 

How Salvator Won. — Ella Wheeler Wilcox 156 

In Amity of Soul.— Mary Kyle Dallas 10 1 

Innocent Drummer, The.— Recitation Lesson-Helps by F. W. Adams 139 

Introduction to Part I. — George Kyle 2 

Japanese Wedding, A. — Arranged by Sara S. Rice 183 

Juggler, The.— George Kyle 27 

Knight and^the Lady, The. — Robertson Trowbridge 164 

Legend of Arabia, A 173 

Legend of the Willow-Pat tern Plate 165 

Le Mauvais Larron. — Graham R. Tomson 161 

Love's Reminiscences. — Mary Kyle Dallas 118 

Miaouletta.— Mary Kyle Dallas 102 

Mothers and Fathers: Two Pictures.— Mary Kyle Dallas 43 

Mr. and Mrs. Popperman 150 

Mrs. Britzenhoeffer's Troubles. — George Kyle . . . 22 

Mrs. Pickles wants to be a Man. — Mary Kyle Dallas 91 

Mrs. Slowly at the Hotel.— Mary Kyle Dallas 59 

Mrs. Smith Improves Her Mind. — Mary Kyle Dallas 67 

Mrs. Tubbs and Political Economy. — Mary Kyle Dallas 45 

Mrs. Winkle's Grandson. — Mary Kyle Dallas 52 

My First School 137 

My Love 168 

My Sweetheart's Baby Brother.— Mary Kyle Dallas 94 

"N" for Nannie and "B" for Ben.— Mary Kyle Dallas 110 

Nettie Budd before her Second Ball.— Mary Kyle Dallas 79 

New Version of a Certain Historical Dialogue, A.— Robert J. Burdette. . . 129 

Old, Old Story, The.— Mary Kyle Dallas 114 

On the Beach 144 

Out of the Bottle.— Mary Kyle Dallas 40 

Pat's Perplexity 148 

Paying her Fare.— Mary Kyle Dallas 68 

Professor Gunter on Marriage. — George Kyle 17 

Rebecca's Revenge. — Mary Kyle Dallas 71 



CONTENTS. v 

PAGE 

Sad Fate of a Policeman, The 128 

Scene in a Street Car. — Mary Kyle Dallas , 70 

Simon Solitary's Ideal Wife.— Mary Kyle Dallas 85 

Slowly s at the Photographer's, The. — Mary Kyle Dallas 47 

Slowlys at the Theatre, The. — Mary Kyle Dallas 53 

Statue's Story, The.— Mary Kyle Dallas 37 

Street Cries 152 

Suppose.— T. H. Robertson 132 

Thikhed's New Year's Call 148 

Thoughts at a Party. — Mary Kyle Dallas 83 

To A. M. Olar: An Old Man's Memories.— Mary Kyle Dallas 116 

Tragedy at Dodd's Place, The.— Mary Kyle Dallas 63 

Tried.— Lulah Ragsdale , 178 

Twilight Pastoral, A 135 

Two Opinions of One House. — Mary Kyle Dallas 98 

War's Sacrifice 145 

What He Would Give Up 136 

What the Crickets Said.— Mary Kyle Dallas 100 

" You Git Upi"-" Joe" Kerr. . . . " 163 



INDEX TO AUTHORS. 



Page 

Baldwin, Henry 124 

Burdette, Robert J 129 

Carleton, Will 131 

Conrad, R. T 153 

Dallas, Mary Kyle. All of part II 31-122 

Gaddess, Mrs. Mary L 158 

Kerr, Joe 163 

Keyes, Edward L 175 

Kyle, George. All of Part 1 1-30 

Locke, John 146 

Masson, Tom 155 

Ragsdale, Lulah 178 

Robertson, T. H 132 

Tomson, Graham R 161 

Trowbridge, Robertson 164 

Vandegrift, Margaret 170 



Werner's Readings No. 3 — page vi 



CHARACTER SKETCHES 

WRITTEN A. N D SUCCESSFULLY RENDERED 

By GEORGE KYLE. 



Werner's Readings No. 3 — page 1. 



\ 



INTRODUCTION TO PART I. 



'""PHE various recitations contained in the following pages, what- 
ever may be their real merit or want of merit, have at least 
one advantage that will commend them to the performer, whether 
professional or amateur, viz., they have each and all been tried, 
not " on a dog," but on audiences of every sort and quality except 
the lowest, and have all proved successful. 

They have each formed a part of my repertoire Avhen I was on 
the platform a few years ago, and were all subject to a simple but 
effective rule: 

Whenever a new piece failed to " catch on " or receive a hearty 
encore, I cast it from me into the outer darkness of forgetfulness 
and oblivion, ana those to be found here are only such as I retained 
for their usefulness in my business. 

Those who have been so kind as to speak favorably of my plat- 
form work have frequently asked me what course of study I have 
pursued. To such I have always answered, that, mere vocal cul- 
ture aside, there is only one true school for a successful entertainer, 
" nature." 

Learn your lines thoroughly, con them until they are as familiar 
as your own name or the letters of the alphabet, and then try to • 
feel what you are saying. Watch the greatest actors or the most 
popular comedians, and you will find that naturalness and not any 
artificial trick is the true source of their success and their superi- 
ority over the lesser performers about them. 

Be natural, speak as you would to your own mother or brother, 
and you will find your audience warming to you ; but strut and 
affect unnatural vocal tricks, strained attitudes and gestures, and 
you will freeze your audience so that even a good thing will not 
arouse or please them. Yours sincerely, 

GEORGE KYLE. 



Readings and Recitations. 

No 3. 



THE BURGLAR'S GRIEVANCES. 

T AM a decent, hard-working persecuted man. When I was a 
little kid, so inches high, folks used to say to me mother: 
" Give your boy a good trade and then he won't need to ax no odds 
ev nobody." 

Well, she done it best she knowed how. She put me 'prentiss to 
a first-class practical burglar fer to learn de perfession. Well, I 
stayed me time out and worked hard and steady, and got all de 
points down fine, and what was de good? She might as well ev 
made a writer er a playactor ev me fer all de good ever I got out 
ev it. People is always puttin' stumblin'-blocks in me way and 
hinderin' me. 

Why, only last week I was a-lookin' fer work in a gentleman's 
house up -town, and I am always keerful not to disturb no one 
when I am at work; and I'd just raised de scuttle-door as easy and 
climbed down de ladder as quiet as a mouse, and was just steppin' 
across de garret floor, when all ev a suddin I stumbled over soine- 
thin' in de dark and barked me shin dreadful. And what do you 
tink ? — ef they hadn't gone and left a coal-scuttle right there fer 
folks to tumble over! 

I call dat culpubble negazince; dat's what I call it. Why, I 
might a broke a arm er a leg and been a cripple and a burden on de 
community fer de rest of me life, and den de racket I made woke 
de old man up and I had to shoot him. See de unnecessary loss 

3 



4 WERNERS READINGS 

ev life all brought about by leavin' tings around fer folks to stum- 
ble over. 

Den dere's anodder ting — dat's de false appearances people puts 
on. De holler French jewelry, de Humphry dimon's, de filled-case 
watches — de country's flooded wid 'em. Just see how it affects my 
perfession. You git your eye on a crib — I mean ter say a 'stablish- 
ment. De gals is all fixed up fine, de men's all got watches, an 
dere's silver on de buffit. 

Well, you get in wid de cook to see how de rooms lays (and ice- 
cream is high dis year). You fix it wid de cop to be on de odder 
end ev his two-mile beat, and dat costs money, not to mention de 
tools and de time and de indianuty, and maybe after you've 
cracked de crib all you get is a whole lot of bogus swag dat ain't 
wort carry in' home. It's tough, I tell you; it takes all de ambition 
out ev a feller. 

Den dere's anodder ting — dat's de late hours people keeps, sit tin' 
up and sittin' up and de lights a blazin' and to all hours ev de 
night, and de poor burglar waitin' out dere in de rain, maybe in 
de snow, feelin' so lonely and gettin' his death a cold with de plum- 
bago into his back er layin' de seeds ev a consumption, anil deir. 
folks inside a sittin' up and a— oh, it's just disgustin' how selfish 
people is. 

But dere's just one more ting I want ter speak about before V 
leave you, and dat's burglar-alarms. What do you want burglar- 
alarms fer ? Why don't yer have doctor-alarms, and shoemaker- 
alarms, and bank-president-alarms? A burglar is only workin' at 
de trade he was brought up into. Now just see how it affects a 
feller. You come in de quiet ev de night, maybe de moon is 
shinin', and you take your jimmy — I mean ter say your Jamei^ 
and you prize open a back shutter say. Den you slip back de 
ketch ev de sash and begin to reeze de winder softly, just little* by 
little so's not to disturb no one; and de moon shines down on yer, 
and yer soul felt at rest wid itself like, when all ev a suddin— 
bang! comes a darned old burglar-alarm. 

I tell you what it is, if a feller's nerves is weak er his heart's 
affected, it might give him a turn he'd never get over; and ] 



AND RECITATIONS. 



5 



wanter say right now, dat if I can't work at me trade widout bein' 
bullyragged and badgered and hindered at every step, Fll leave it, 
and go inV. de city government er get a charter to lay volcaners 
under Broadway, and den yez el be sorry yez didn't gimme a 
chance to work at de trade I was .brought up into. 



DELANCEY STUYVASANT AND THE 
HORSE-CAR. 

T WONDER why fellahs ever wide in horse-cars, fellahs do you 
know? Some fellahs tell me they wide in the horse-cars evewy 
day. Say, do you know, if I were to wide in a horse-car evewy day 
my fewneral would occur in a week, I assure you. 

I once wode in a horse-car, did it for a lark, you know. I made 
a bet at the club, with another fellah. I said [heroically], "I will 
wide in a horse-car." So I went to the corner where I had observed 
these vehicles and called one of them. I said : " Horse-car, horse- 
car!" but not one of them came, don't-cher-know. And then I 
observed that fellahs who wode in horse-cars wan after them, don't- 
cher-know, played tag with them as it were, like the howwid little 
children when they come out of school. So I pursued one of, the 
strange equipages and at last overtook it. 

Well, when I had clambered upon the wear portion of the dwedful 
contwivance, I was vewy much fatigued and out of bweath; and as 
I pawsed to wecover myself an official decowated with strips of 
various colored card-board, said to me quite woodly, " Come, step 
inside and make woom for the ladies." 

I could see no ladies, weally, only a number of female persons of 
the lower orders. I hesitated, when some one inside the vehicle 
called out quite loudly, "Come up to the stove," and quite a warm 
day in October, too, don't-cher-know, and no such appawatus in the 
vehicle, I assure you. 

When at last I forced myself inside the car, I found it quite noi- 
some, quite squalid don't-cher-know ; and looking about me I could 



6 



WERNER'S READINGS 



see no place to sit down. Evewy seat was occupied, and a large 
number of persons were dangling from stwaps beside. I turned to 
the conductor fellah and said, " Where shall I sit ? The seats 
appear to be occupied by — persons." 

The conductor fellah answered quite woodly, "You may sit upon 
your thumb, if you please." He did, indeed; and when I wemon- 
stwated with him upon the impropriety of telling a gentleman to 
sit upon his thumb, he told me to seek a place of eternal punish- 
ment, just fahncy! 

Well, at last I obtained a seat, and the moment I did so the con- 
ductor fellah stwode up to me and pwesented a nickel-plated we- 
volver at my bweast and demanded his fare, — some twifling sum. 
I assured him that violence was not necessary, and that I was quite 
willing to pay him without compulsion. Still arfter I had paid him 
he pulled the twigger ; but, instead of its going bang! as I had ex- 
pected, it only went ping! don't-cher-know, and no one excepting 
myself in the vehicle seemed in the least alarmed. 

Well, as I wecovered from my smpwise, I looked about me, and 
weally it was quite howwid, don't-cher-know. Wight opposite me sat 
persons of the labowing classes, with what I pwesume to be lime on 
their boots, and tin cans, which for some mystewious purpose they 
caAvied in their hands ; and there was a female person with fish, and 
a colored person with soiled clothing in a large basket, and a German 
person with ancient cheese in a bwown paper. But next me there 
sat a fellah who had been eating garlic, and weally, it annoyed me 
exceedingly. Now I had wead somewhere — indeed I think it was 
in the vehicle itself — that if any fellah annoyed another fellah in the 
horse-car, he must speak to the conductor fellah ; so I addressed that 
vewy unpleasant official, saying, 

" I say, conductor fellah, I wish you would wemove this person : 
he has been eating garlic quite wecently, and it annoys me exceed- 
ingly." 

The fellah put his fist under my nose and wemarked, " You will 
eat that in a few moments if you are not careful!" 

I turned to him and wemonstwated. I said, " My dear fellah, you 
must be aware that you have been eating garlic, and that it makes 



AND RECITATIONS. 7 

you highly objectionable and unpleasant to those about you, and 
that you weally ought to wesign — get out, don't-cher-know." One of 
the labowing persons opposite called out most woodly, " Oh, put a 
head on him, Bill and the other added, "Go on; push his face 
in." 

A moment's weflection convinced me that these wemarks were 
colloquialisms of the lower order referring to a personal attack, so I 
considered that in case of a personal attack I might weceive some 
contusion or other injury which would not impwove my personal 
appear wance, so I turned to the fellah and apologized. I said, "1 
beg your pardon, Fm sure ; I was not aware that it was customawy 
Ho eat garlic in the horse-cars, don't-cher-know ;" and he appeared 
mollified. 

Well, at last a most dwedful thing occurred. A female person, 
an Iwish female person, entered the car and stood wight before me. 
She had a soiled baby in her arms and the baby held a bit of candy 
in one of its sticky hands and an owange in the other. I was just 
wegarding the infant, and wondering why persons of the lower 
orders were allowed to have such dirty babies, don't-cher-know — why 
Mr. Bury or Mr. Seary, or some one didn't interfere and put a stop 
to it ; when, before I could compweehend her intention, she put the 
dwedful baby wight down upon my knees, wemarking as she did 
so, " Howld the choild till I git me money out." The awful 
infant gwasped my scarf in one hand and my eye-glass in the other, 
and wemarked, " Daddy." Evewy one in the car laughed. 

I dwopped the dwedful infant on the floor, wemarking as I did 
so, "Conductor, allow me to alight from this infamous vehicle; 1 
cannot endure it a moment longer." And what do you think the 
conductor fellah said: 

"Come, huwwy up, don't keep us waiting all day";" and when I 
wemonstwated with him upon the impwopwietv of telling a gentle- 
man to huwwy up, he threw me off the car. Just fahncy ! 

That is the only time I ever wode in a horse-car. 

I wonder why fellahs ever do wide in horse-cars. I should think 
they would pwefer cabs. 



8 



WERNERS READINGS 



HOOLAHAN ON EDUCATION. 

T A DIES AND GENTLEMEN : Allow me to present to you Mr, 
Michael Hoolahan, a member of the Quarryman's Society, 
who will repeat his valuable remarks upon education, which were 
received with such enthusiasm at Hibernia Hill on the evening of 
the seventeenth of March last. [Change face and manner.] 

Quarry min and Rockblasters and all others here assimbled: — 
This has been a grand day, it has been a glorious day„ The whalin' 
and march in' and counter-march in' of the Hohokobolareny Society, 
of St. Marks' Society, of the St. Bridget's Society, of the St. Luke's' 
Society, of the Macacracara Conceptra, Society of the Ancient 
Ordher of Hibernians, of the Father Matthew, T. A. B. No. one, 
two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, 
thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen [choke and cough] ; but above 
all and before all and snparior to all, the Quarrymin and Rock- 
blaster Protective and Benevolent Society. 

But it is not for self-ugratulation or the like of that that we are 
assimbled here this evenin'. No, my frinds, but for a few words 
upon the subject of iddication. Iddication, quarrymin and rock- 
blasters and all others here assimbled. Oi moight remarruk in 
the wurruds of the most fameous of Irish poets, William Shake- 
speare be name, in the original tongue which was the Gaelic, 
" Hohoken der holler gush gomorrikin de blist," which translated 
into the English would rade: [pauses] Will — m— m — iddication, 
there is nothin' like it fur the ould, the young or the middlifi' 
aged, quarrymin and rockblasters, and all others here assimbled. 

Oi say to yez all, git iddication, larn your childer iddication, lam 
thim biology, which traits of plants and how they grow; larn thim 
chimistery, which dales with numbers and the combinations 
thereof; larn thim bo-taney, which dales wid the interior construc- 
tion of mankind and similar subjects; larn thim ostrology, which 
infarms thim of the rapid transit of Vanus and the revolution of 
the wurruld upon its axle-tree; and larn thim conkerology and ois- 
terology and bummorology, and a-— um — m, a — in fact all the ologies 



AND RECITATIONS. 



9 



and all the sciences, and in all manners and on all occasions give 
thim iddication, quarrymin and rockblasters and all others here 
assimbled. 

One point as to the advantages of iddication before oi lave yez. 
Oi cam to this country ineself a poor boy of fourteen, twinty years 
ago, and now at thage of fifty-sivin, oi am what oi am [pause for 
effect ; goes on impressively]. And what med me what oi am ? Id- 
dication, iddication, quarrymin and rockblasters and all others 
here assimbled, 



THE ANATOMICAL TRAGEDIAN. 

T ADIES AND GENTLEMEN:— I presume you have all heard 
of my great and celebrated master and predecessor, Delsarte, 
whose analysis of the dramatic art has elevated the work of the 
actor almost into an exact science, and my intention upon this occa- 
sion is to give you in a condensed form the outlines of his great 
system. 

Every human passion or emotion is expressed in the face and form 
by the flexion and extension of certain muscles, and by no other 
means. 

The passion of love, for instance, is presented by drawing up the 
corners of the mouth by means of the grinuric muscles, placing 
both the hands upon the heart, turning in the toes, and opening and 
shutting the eyes rapidly by means of the winkaious nerves, thus. 
\ Illustrates.'] 

The emotion of fear is simulated by opening the mouth to its 
fullest extent, turning the eyes as far as possible to the right or left, 
violently oscillating the knock-kneeic bones, rapidly vibrating the 
hands with fingers all spread wide so as to present the motion of a 
fish's tail, thus. [Illustrates.] 

The passion of jealousy is represented by grasping the chin with 
the graburic bones of the left hand, and the left elbow in those of 
the right hand, turning in the toes, working the jaws by means of 
the chew-glewic muscles and fixing the eyes upon the bridge of the 
nose, thus. [Illustrates.] 



10 



WERNER'S READINGS 



Grief is most effectively expressed by turning the back toward the 
audience, pressing both hands over the eyes, resting the weight upon 
one limb, bowing the head and regularly raising and lowering the 
shoulders by means of the shruguric muscles, thus. [Illustrates.] 

Scorn or contempt is depicted by folding the arms, drawing down 
the corners of the mouth, wrinkling up the nose by means of the 
bad-smellic muscles, and fixing the eyes steadily upon the floor 
before you, or upon the feet of your adversary, thus. [Illustrates.] 

Resignation is best expressed by crossing the arms upon the breast, 
raising the head, drawing down the corners of the mouth, and rolling 
up the eyes by means of the sick-catic muscles, thus. [Illustrates.] 

Deep thought or meditation is depicted by placing the fore-finger 
of the right hand upon the thinkuric bone of the forehead just 
beside the right eye, throwing up the head at an angle of forty-five 
degrees, with the face turned toward the left, wrinkling up the 
forehead by means of the frownuric muscles and stretching forth 
the left hand as though to ward off some object, such as a small boy 
or a bicycle, thus. [Illustrates.] 

But I will best illustrate the great advantages of the Delsartean 
system by a selection from one of Shakespeare's masterpieces. 

I have often regretted the fact that Shakespeare was removed 
from among us by death, as his early demise lost him the oppor- 
tunity of witnessing my performances of his work, but we may hope 
that from his happy abode above he may look down with satisfac- 
tion upon my rendition of the creatures of his genius, happy in 
knowing that at last his work has received full justice. 

hamlet's soliloquy. 

To be, or not to be? that is the question. [Deep thought or medi- 
tation.]* 

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind, to suffer the slings [throw sling] 
and arrows [draw bow] of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against 
a sea of troubles, [stiff military attitude, as with a gun] and, by 
opposing, end them ? 

To die ; [pantomime of hanging /] to sleep no more, — and, by a 

[* Whenever an emotion is men lion jd the performer should assume the at- 
titude and expression described in the burlesque lecture.] 



AND RECITATIONS. 



11 



sleep to say we end the heartache, and the thousand natural shocks 
that flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. 
To«die ; to sleep — to sleep? perchance to dream, [picture horror'] 
ay, there's the rub ; for in that sleep of death what dreams may 
come, when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, [taking off coat] 
must give us pause [picture paws]. There's the respect that makes 
calamity of so long life. For who would bear the whips and scorns 
of time ; the oppressor's wrong ; the proud man's contumely ; 
[picture contempt] the pangs of despised love ; [picture jealousy] 
the law's delay ; [business of Jianclcuffs] the insolence of office, 
and the spurns that patient merit of the unworthy takes, [business 
of kicking] when he himself might his quietus make with a bare 
bodkin? [Stabbing.] But that the dread of something after death, 
that undiscovered country from whose bourne (burns) [express pitch- 
forking, horns, and jumping about] no traveller returns, puzzles the 
will, and makes us rather bear those ills we have, than fly [business 
of flying] to others that we know not of. 

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all. [Picture fear.] 
And thus the native hue of resolution is sicklied o'er with the pale 
cast of thought ; [picture meditation] and enterprises of great pith 
and moment, with this regard, their currents turn awry, and lose 
the name of action. 

Soft you now ! the fair Ophelia. [Picture love.] Nymph, in 
thine orisons be all my sins remembered. [Picture resignation.] 
[Exit.] 



THE GOOD LITTLE BOY AND THE 
BAD LITTLE BOY. 

T PEESUME you have all occasionally dipped into the sort of 
literature that is provided for the young by the various Tract 
Societies and Book Concerns, — the sort of book in which the virtu- 
ous lad, by strict attention to the rules and precepts of his worthy 
parents and Sabbath-school teachers, rises to high distinction in 
the world, and in which the naughty boy, by his disobedience, falls 
into grievous trouble, sometimes even into the mill-pond when his 
depravity leads him to the purloining of birds' nests upon Sunday. 
I say I suppose you have read these books, but I doubt if any of 
you have ever seen the little boy intended to be produced by these 
means. 



12 



WERNER'S READINGS 



I will try to put before you the natural product of this class of 
literature in the character of " The Good Little Boy." 

" I am a very good little boy. I never tell stories, I never play 
truant, I never make loud, rude noises. 

"Ah ! there is the school-bell, but there is another bell before 
school begins, so I shall have a chance to reflect. Let me see, do I 
know all my lessons ? Ah, yes, I do not think I can fail in any of 
them, and that rejoices me with a great gladness. I never would 
miss a lesson if I could avoid it, for it grieves my teacher and 
makes my parents' hearts sad if I do not attend diligently to my 
studies. Besides, knowledge is power; and power is a good thing if 
we make good use of it, which I shall always do. 

" Ah! who would neglect their studies for the sake of idle play ? 
who would not rather acquire information than marbles? For 
after all, playing at marbles is a sinful game, somewhat resembling 
gambling, and arousing evil passions in a boy's breast. I have seen 
one little boy strike another little boy upon the nose when disput- 
ing over the game of marbles. 

" Ah! how I wish that other little boys could be as I am; and 
when I see them doing wrong I try to correct them and make them 
better, and sometimes it gets me into trouble, as upon one occasion 
when I saw some naughty boys playing a wicked game of base-ball 
upon the" Sabbath. And when I went up to them and plead with 
them and strove with them, and told them that they would never go to 
heaven, they called me rude names and cast rocks at me, and put me ' 
under the pump and pumped on me; so when I went home, my papa, 
who discredited my story, whipped me for getting my clothing wet. 

" What shall I be when I have grown to be a man ? Let me re- 
flect. I will be a wealthy and benevolent merchant and found a 
woman's hotel. No, I will be a missionary and go to Africa's 
sunny strand and make the poor, little, black heathen children 
wear nice warm ulsters and read tracts instead of going about with 
nothing on [looks modest] and eating each other. 

"No, now I have it: I will be postmaster of the United States 
on week-days, and on Sunday I will be superintendent of a Sabbath- 
school. 



AND RECITATIONS. 



13 



"Ah! [listening] there is the second bell, and I must hurry on or 
I shall be late for school, which would grieve my parents and make 
my teacher's heart sick." [Exit singing."] 

" Oh, come, come away, the school-bell now is ringing: 
With merry hearts from friends depart, oh, come, come away." 

[Re-enter quickly with tough gestures, smoking a stump of cigar, 
if permissible. ] 

" I'm tough, I am, and fly too. You can just bet your sweet life 
that feller that just went away is a chump. I smashed him in his 
kisser and pushed his face in. He told me ef I didn't go to school 
to-day and learn me lessins I would grow up igerrent, so I just 
showed him. Oh, look at that [showing muscle]. 

" Oh, I am sorry for him. He thinks ef he minds hees teachers 
and learns hees lessons and all dem tings, he'el get 'lected presi- 
dent of the U-nited States. Oh, rats ! Won't he get left, dough ! 
When I grown up and get a big man I'll run a gin-mill and get to be 
boss of a gang, and den I'll get 'lected alderman and grab de boodle. 

" I got a gang now. You'd oughter see 'em. We call ourselves 
' De Curbstone Cotiree.' Dere's Scotty and Dirty Mike, and Patsy 
G-illigan, and Swilltub Fritz, and Crummey de Dog-s wiper. We 
used to meet on de Dutchman's coal-box, but he got fresh wid us 
fellers and setwed a writ of interjection onto us. 

" Maybe we didn't have a dandy fire last 'lection night. Dere 
wasn't a ash-barrel or a fence left in de district; and say, you'd 
oughter seen how de Dutchman's coal-box blazed, it was as good as 
fire-works. 

" I wish I was out on de plains fightin' injins like they doos in 
<De Boys' Own Blood-tub:' 

" e I say, Scalp-knife Bill, do you see de red-skins yonder, behind 
de cottonwood in de chapparell f 

" J Yes, I seez em, and as sure's your name's Bloody-handed Dick, 
de eagle-eyed trapper detective of de far Sierras, I'll have dere 
heart's blood ere yander sun sinks beneath de eastern horizon. 
Come on den, let's slay 'em without a quarter.' 

[Starting and looking frightened.] " Cheese it, a cop P [Exit 
hastily.] 



14 



WERNER'S READINGS 



BILLY'S PETS. 

T AM very fond of pets. I just love all kinder animiles, and I've 
had, oli, lots of pets ; but somewayernother they all seem to 
turn out bad kinder. 

The first pet what ever I had was a sweet little kid. Well, he 
was a sweet little kid when I fust got him ; but byumby he growed 
up into a grate big billy-goat with long horns and a bad disposition. 
When he was a little kid I used to take him to bed with me nights; 
but when he growed up to goat's estate he used to stand on the bed 
and buck, and I'd have to sit up all night in a chair. 

Then by and by he began eat in' things. He ate all the table- 
cloths, and the paper off the wall, and all my school-books — golly! 
I didn't mind that much. But one day he got ahold of the 
" Krutzer Sonater" and ate that, and it made him awful sick, and 
then he ate a copy of the " Weekly Anua-kist "* and that killed him. 
Uncle Henry said it was the eddytorials kinder roasted him up 
inside like. 

Well, the next pet I had was a dawg — um, such a nice dawg. I 
think he was a water-spaniel. What makes me think he was a 
water-spaniel is 'cause I found him in the water with a brick tied 
to his tail. Some boys was goin' to drownd him. 

" Gimme that dawg for this jack-knife?" I says, untheboys says, 

"Yes!" 

i( Whatel you give me to boot ?" I says. 

" You kin boot the dawg, if yer wanter," they says. 

Oh, he was a nice dawg! not putty, but so 'fectionate and so musi- 
cal ; used to sing all nite. You see he used to bay the moon, and 
when they wasn't no moon he'd bay gas-lamps and 'lectric lights. 
But one day he got the horidforbier and bit some little boys in our 
street. They must a been bad boys, else it wouldn't a happined to 
them. Nothin' bad ever happins to good boys. Well, anny way, 
some folks what he didn't kill come around and killed him. That 
was wrong, don't you see. We should never injure those who do 



* Introduce some book or paper to suit time and place. 



AND RECITATIONS. 



15 



not injure us. They'd ought to taken him to Doctor Paster and 
got some mutton soup squirted into him. But anyway when they 
killed him he died of it and never got alive any more, and I felt real 
sad. 

Once my uncle gimme a pony. Oh, such a summtiloocious pony! 
one of them kind that wears their ears long and their tale short, 
and kinder sing like a rusty hinge when they're feelin' happy. 

Such a playful pony he was. He used to play foot-ball with me. 
I use ter be the foot-ball and leap-frog! un! why, he'd let me leap 
over his head as many times as I wanted — manyer. He could buck, 
too. But not like a goat bucks. Goats bucks with their horns, 
but he bucked with his hole form like. Just hump up his back 
and bounce like a rubber ball, only harder. 

But one day when he was hungry he chewed off my uncle's left 
ear. Uncle didn't get mad, oh, no; uncle belongs to the Society for 
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animiles, but he said there must be 
sumthin' a matter with the inside works of the pony, cause pony's 
mostly wasn't carneriverous and don't natrely feed off ears. So he 
just cut him open to find out what the trouble was, and what do 
you think ? if that pony wasn't full up to there — of people's ears 
what he'd chewed off ! Uncle said he died of eary-sypilus. 

I once had a pole-cat, but that ain't a fare cat, and it don't go up 
a pole neither. Some folks calls urn skunks. They say that men 
makes the finest perfumerys out of things that smells the orfullest: 
if that's the fare truth, my pole-cat would a made about ten million 
barrels of the nicest, sweetest kind of col ogny- water. Say, I 
couldn't bare to sleep with myself for over a month after I had that 
pole-cat, and uncle got a hundred pounds of limburger cheese and 
rubbed it into the parlor carpet and sprinkled sassyfigety and kero- 
sene all over the house, and made me bathe myself in carboilic acid 
for a week to sorter take out the perfumery. 

But that wasn't a pet, you know. A pet is a animile what you 
love, and nobody don't love pole-cats, 'cept maby Mr. Lubin, what 
makes J ockey Club, and white Violet, and Muss Rose cologny-water. 

The next pet I got was a pussy cat. Oh, such a sweet pussy cat! 
all black with one green eye. The only one fault she had was she 



16 



WERNER'S READINGS 



was so fond er kittens. She used to go out and adopt a half a 
dozen every few weeks, and come bringin' them in by the scruff of 
their necks. Then byumby them kittens begun to grow up inter 
big cats, so at last the house got just full of cats, all kinder cats: 
Lazy fat cats, and thin scratch cats, and ash-barrel cats and albino 
cats; cats what had fits and cats what didn't have fits. Byumby 
it got so you couldn't step no where in that house 'thout steppin' 
onto a cat's tale. 

Well, uncle he knows all about perlitercal 'conomy and all such 
things, and he says the mejeroity should rule, and what's good for 
the greatest number should allers be done, and he says that for the 
greatest good of the greatest number we'd oughter move. So we 
moved. The man that lived in that house after we moved away, 
usedter sell boned turkey and chicken salad in pretty tin boxes. 

The last pet ever I had was a lovely green snake ; as graceful a 
little creetur as ever you see. He was twinin' hisself around a 
'lanthus tree in our back yard when I coched him, and he learned 
to love me dearly, I think, 'cause he always used to wag his tale 
when I come near him. 

I didn't tell uncle 'bout havin' the snake, cause I wanted to give 
him a pleasant surprise, he was so fond of animiles, you know. Well, 
one day I was playin' with him on the floor and uncle come in and 
see me. Uncle jumped about a feet and says, "Holy smoke! I've 
got 'em again! Say, Billy dear, do you see anything there ? No, of 
course you don't ; neither do I, only I just thought I'd ask." 

"Oh, yes," I says, "dear uncle, that's my new snake, McKinley. 
I got him for to surprise yer with." 

Then uncle sighed like, and says : " Ah, Billy, you'd better give 
him up now before he becomes indispenserble to yer happiness and 
learns to look up inter your eyes with pleading 'fection and twine 
hisself about your heart." 

Then he took him away with the tongs. Uncle told me after- 
ward he'd put him out of his misery with chloryform and 'lectricity. 
" Better so," says uncle, "than to send him out inter the cold world 
among strangers." Uncle was always so kind to animilea. 



AND RECITATIONS. 



1? 



PROFESSOR GUNTER ON MARRIAGE. 



[Sharp snappy voice and stiff jerky movements.] 
jWI EN AND WOMEN :— You must not expect me to preface the 
few remarks I have to make with a bow. I never saluted 
any one, man or woman, in any manner whatever. Absurd cere- 
mony, waste of muscular effort. 

In my studies of nocturnal insect life it has been my custom on 
summer evenings to walk in the Central Park, and on sucli occa- 
sions I have been shocked, surprised, not to say disgusted, by ob- 
serving every seat or bench occupied by couples composed of one 
male and one female person, young and otherwise, seated in inti- 
mate contiguity or juxtaposition, the arm of the male about the 
waist of the female and the head of the female upon the shoulder 
of the male ; [in a disgusted tone] the male at frequent intervals 
kissing the female ; and the female at somewhat longer intervals 
kissing the male, or vice versa ; ridiculous custom, great waste of 
muscular effort. 

Upon inquiry, I was informed that this was a ceremony known 
under various titles, such as " courting," "sparking,'' "keeping 
company," and was regarded as a necessary preliminary to the union 
of persons by the marriage contract. And this brings me to the 
subject of my remarks. 

Why, in the name of reason, should two persons who have re- 
solved to take upon themselves the cares and responsibilities of 
married life, devote an indefinite number of weeks, months, or years 
to the performance of such a preposterous and unnecessary cere- 
monial ? In my opinion, this most regrettable ccndition of things 
arises from the absurd practice of allowing young and inexperienced 
persons to choose their own life-partners. Why, my more or less 
intelligent audience, who could be less fitted for the grave task of 
such a selection than persons of unripe years and no discretion 
whatever ? 

I am sure you must all agree with me upon the folly of the pres- 



18 



WERNER'S READINGS 



ent arrangement. But you may ask, " Where is the remedy ?" I 
answer. It is here [producing a document]. I have matured a plan 
for an intelligent and judicious settlement of the question of mar- 
riages, which I will now briefly sketch for your enlightenment, leav- 
ing the elaboration of details for some future day [reads from paper]. 

A board should be appointed by the mayor of each city, or select- 
men of every town or village, composed of men and women of ad- 
vanced years, whose duty it should be to select suitable persons as 
life-partners. And the decisions of this board should be final, any 
disobedience to its mandates being punished by imprisonment for 
life or for a longer period. Couples should be of a suitable age, say 
thirty on the part of the female and forty-five on the part of the 
male, for early marriages are most injudicious. 

Contrasts should also be observed in the selection. Thus, for a 
very large and stout woman a small, attenuated husband should be 
found ; and for an obese and plethoric man a pale and fragile 
female. The dark should be mated with the fair, gray eyes with 
black, and for a person whose lower limbs present this figure 
[knuckles together] should be found a mate whose nether extremities 
describe this form [thumbs touching and forefingers pointing 
toward each other]. 

For a vixenish and sharp-tongued female should be found a hus- 
band of lamb-like docility, and for a peevish and violent man a 
wife with a spirit of angelic patience. No two pair of cross-eyes 
should be permitted in any one couple, but for a person so afflicted 
should be found a wall-eyed mate. For a man with the right limb 
shorter than the left should be found a woman with the right limb 
the longer. For one with the nose twisted to the left hand, some 
person whose nasal organ is turned toward the right. In all such 
cases we may hope that the progeny will strike a sort of average, and 
present neither irregularity. 

This board should also have charge of the question of divorce, 
and when any couple are reported by their neighbors as quarrelling 
or disagreeing more than once a month, such couple should be 
separated with or without their consent, and some more suitable 
mate found for each at the discretion of the board. 



AND RECITATIONS. 



19 



All persons making use of any such expressions as " lovey-dovey/' 
or "does papa love mama/' or "tootsy-wootsy/' or "whose baby is 
oo/' or any similar phrase, should be put under heavy bonds to keep 
the peace, and on a second offence be put under restraint in some 
public lunatic asylum or idiot home. 

There should be a regular, graduated list of fines for other 
offences. Say $50 for squeezing hands, and $100 for pressing toes 
under table ; $150 for sitting in front parlor with light, and $200 
with the light out ; $250 for putting arm around waist, $300 fine 
and six months' imprisonment for kissing, and electrocution for sit- 
ting upon knee of opposite sex. 

My scheme may seem Utopian or even impracticable, but such is 
the case with all great reforms, and like such reforms it will, of 
course, meet with opposition from the young and foolish. But if 
my plan of furnishing all heads of families with fierce bull-dogs and 
stout boots at the public expense were put in practice, such opposi- 
tion might be reduced to a minimum. 

Oh, my more or less intelligent hearers, it may be a hard battle, 
but is not such a reform worth any amount of effort ? For my own 
part, I am willing to sacrifice myself upon the altar of common- 
sense. 

And if the board I plead for is ever established, I will most 
cheerfully submit to its mandate, although, of course, in my case if 
the law of contrast were duly adhered to, my life-partner would 
naturally be a person of inferior mental attainments, plain personal 
appearance, and — er — hem — a large fortune. Still, as I have said, 
in the interest of the public good, and as an example of intelligent 
connubial arrangements, I would at any cost or pain accept the 
female selected for me by the board. And if any here present feel 
inclined to subscribe a few hundreds or thousands of dollars for the 
formation of a society for the suppression of love-making nonsense, 
and placing matrimony upon an intelligent and reasonable basis, I 
stand not only ready but anxious to become its treasurer. 



20 



WERNER'S READINGS 



HIGH ART AND ECONOMY. 

T HAVE read of late a great many articles in the artistic maga- 
zines describing the achievements of sundry decorative econo- 
mists who created ingenious abodes of beauty and taste in the most 
inexpensive manner; and believing such articles to be in demand, 
I hastened to jot down my own experiences in the cheap furnish- 
ing line, and offered the same for publication to Scribner's, Harp- 
er's, and the Atlantic Monthly, but failed to dispose of it at either. 
I cannot imagine why it was refused, as it seems to me to be 
exactly in the proper style. The following is the article: 

Only three dollars and a half! And I must construct for myself a 
borne which would not offend my refined tastes, and which should 
in some measure symbolize the mingled strength and poetry of my 
inner nature. Well, as I recline in dreamy reverie upon the Span- 
ish laundry-soap-box, which I have converted into an elegant 
lounge, and look about me, a sigh of satisfaction escapes my lips ; 
and as I straighten the last leg of my ebony escritoire I proudly 
pronounce the words, "By hokey ! I've done it." I will tell you 
now. 

My uncle, with whom I lived, allowed me to make my home in 
a disused cow-shed, for I could not endure the kalsomined walls of 
his house, and the floors, covered as they were with carpet, lacer- 
ated my very soul and brought on a state of melancholy which even 
Howells's Thrilling Tales of Adventure or Eichard Grant White's 
Poetical Flights of Fancy could not dissipate, so I removed to 
the cow-shed and prepared to make it a home of beauty. 

First, I gave the walls a coat of Busby's Liquid Blacking, leav- 
ing a space at top and bottom for frieze and dado. The spaces I 
covered with sheets of wrapping-paper. On the frieze I painted 2 
representation of a political torchlight procession and chowder- 
party in ancient Egypt in Indian red, which I produced, inexpen- 
sively but somewhat laboriously, by rubbing broken bricks upon a 
flag-stone; a mucilage-brush furnishing a good implement with 
which to apply it. On the dado I, with the same materials, de- 



AND RECITATIONS. 



21 



lineated a walking-match of storks among the bulrushes on the 
banks of the Nile. 

Now for the floor. A carpet was not only repugnant to my 
feelings, but expensive also. I concluded to stain the floor; but 
how ? Chance favored me. Some painters were at worK on the 
roof of my uncle's house, and while they were absent at the noon- 
tide hour seeking nourishment, I borrowed their paint and conse- 
crated it to the sacred cause of art. 

The floor had now a beautiful brown surface, and possessed an 
adhesive quality which I utilized in fastening down my rug, which 
I constructed of an apron of my aunt's, squared up and appliqued 
with the feet of old woollen stockings cut into artistic shapes. 

Acting on the happy suggestions given me by the roof-painters, 
and with the same high motive, I then procured some planks from 
a neighboring lumber-yard, and constructed a big wooden mantel- 
piece, consisting of shelves placed one above the other. These I 
painted with the roof-paint, of which some still remained, and 
further decorated with bro^\l bands of black; and when I had 
tacked upon the edge a fringe made of strips cut from a red-flannel 
garment of my aunt's which h been left out one night upon the 
clothes-line, the effect was one c subdued grandeur. I then filled 
the shelves with a collection of * vic-a-brac, old ink-bottles, flower- 
pots, pieces of kindling-wood, tomato-cans, and decorated bricks. 

Upon the walls I hung Herald war-maps and allegorical designs 
by Thomas Nast, in lath-frames. These suggested a love of the 
ideal in art, which is one of my more prominent characteristics. 
In addition to the Spanish laundry-soap-box lounge and the ebony 
escritoire made of laths which I have already -mentioned, I made a 
beautiful arm-chair of Eastlake design out of an old hen-coop, cov- 
ered with red flannel derived from the same source as the fringe 
on the mantelpiece. 

A drain-pipe standing on end and surmounted by a washboard 
formed a tasteful and appropriate pedestal for my great work in 
clay, representing Peter Cooper receiving the congratulations of 
Apollo and the nine muses. 

A scrap-book containing mortuary notices from London Punch, 



22 



WERNER'S READINGS 



humorous verses by G. W. Childs, etc., and some copies of the 

Atlantic Monthly completed the contents of my bower of beauty 
and culture. Why should any man of taste and refinement live 
surrounded by the products of commonplace barbarism, when, by 
ingenuity, industry, and a proper attention to the advertising 
columns of the magazines, he can make for himself a congenial 
home for the small sum of three dollars and a half ? 



MRS. BRITZENHOEFFER'S TROUBLES. 

[Should be done in costume. Brown-spotted calico dress, checked 
apron, yellow handkerchief on neck, looollen hood, carpet-slippers, blue 
woollen stockings, and a cheap market-basket ivith a property bologna 
sausage in it. Face, dark t int flesh, pink tint on eyelids and broivn 
rims to upper and lower lids, brown wrinkles at corners of eyes and 
on forehead, nose faintly reddened at tip. Draw mouth up at cor- 
ners as far as possible and protrude under lip. Line the ivrinkles 
thus produced with broivn painty 

[Enter, wiping eyes and nose on apron.] 
/^\H, I got me so much droubles, I can't toled you how moch 
^- > ^ droubles I have got. Key Yorrick vos de vorst city fon de 
whole vorlt, mit de vorst mans, unt de vorst vomans, unt de vorsi 
poys unt gels, unt de vorst dogs. But by dose shamrock flats vere I 
life me, v^s de vorst men unt de vorst voman, unt the vorst poys 
unt gels, unt de vorst dog in de whole city fon Ney Yorrick. 
Dere names vos Mulligan. 

Gooka mol [setting down basket]. I keep me dose bretty shura- 
nium flowers, de roses shuraniums, unt de Lady Voshingtons shura- 
niums, unt de lemons sheraniums, unt de fishes shuraniums. I keep 
me dose shuraniums on de vinder shelluf unt dey grows fine unt 
beautiful, unt got soch a bretty flowers on dem. Veil, comes dose 
raskell Mulligans poys unt break fon de fishes shuraniums de heads 
off. 

Dot make me so vild I look me out de vinder unt I say to dose 
Mulligans poys: "For vot you drow dose sthones unt break m^ 



AND RECITATIONS. 



23 



bretty flowers ? Sthop dot right avay. " Den comes more sthones 
unt knocks fon my roses shuraniums de heads off it. Den I get 
me vild unt I holler out: "You little raskells, I call mine hosband 
unt he keel you, you little loafers! Hons! Hons! Kumma mol, 
keel for me dose raskell Mulligans poys." Unt Hons he come very 
grafe unt quiet, unt he say : 

". Lena, Lena, dot vos not de vay to speak by childrens. De vay 
to speak by childrens vos quiet unt dignyfied unt gentle, not vild 
unt oxcited like dot." 

Unt he goes by de vinder unt he says: " Little poys, donM you 
know dot vos ferry wrong to drow dose sthones unt break de bretty 
flowers? See dey vos all broke unt sphoiled, unt dot makes mine 
vife engry. Now you vill be goot little poys unt go right avay." 

But dey don'd go avay. Comes more sthones unt breaks for 
twenty-five cents vinder gless, unt a milluk pitcher. Unt Hons say : 

"I vos surprised for you. You are more bed dan I could belief. 
Go right avay or I sholl be vexed mit you." 

But dey don'd go avay some more, but comes anoder beg sthone 
unt hits my Hons on de nose. Unt he say, 

"Donner unt blixen, you nesty, dirty raskells! I sthrangleese 
de life fon out you! I blow your heads off mit such a Getting guns, 
you nesty, dirty, freckley, vorty, red-head, schnub-nosed raskells! 
Bolice! Bolice! Bolice!" 

Yah [crying\ Unt de bolice come unt take mine Hons by de 
station-house, unt dot cost me den dollars of I can get him oud 
some more in de morning. 

I keep me some schickens, de hens unt de roosters, unt dey lay 
me sometimes eggs, — de hens. Unt last veek I come down de 
sthares mit a besket fon dose eggs on my arm. Unt dere on de 
lending sthands dose Mulligans gel, Mary Ann, mit dose Mulli- 
gans dog, Dowser. Unt dot Dowser he got a mout like a railroat 
tunnel, unt he growls fon me unt looks cross-vays, unt I say, " Get 
oud, you bed Mulligans dog; I vont to go de sthares down \" unt 
dot dog he growls mit me. Unt I say, "Get out!" unt I make for 
heem a kick so ; unt dot Mulligans Mary Ann, she say, "Sick her, 
Dowser," unt I make for heem anoder kick, unt he youmps for me 



24 



WERNERS READINGS 



unt bites fon my new knit stockings soch a pieces es two skeins of 
yarn knits not in some more, unt some of me too; unt I fall me 
ofer dot Mary Ann unt dot Dowser, unt down sthares I go, humpty 
pump, ofer and ofer, unt smash on de bottom goes for a dollar eggs 
unt fifty cents profit. 

Veil, nefer mind, nefer mind; de little old Dutch vomans can do 
something. 

By Jersey lifes mine brooder. Yah [meaningly]. Vot vos his 
occupations, eh? He vos a sausage-maker, ain't it? Yah. 

Last veek Dowser bighted fon me big pieces out. Dis veek — 
[taking property sausage from basket with a laugh of fiendish 
triumph. Biting sausage savagely] — I know vot I know. [Exit.] 



DUNDERBURG JENKINS'S "FORTY- 
GRAF" ALBUM. 

A. STUDY IN FACIAL EXPRESSION AND POSING. 



T ONCE spent a few weeks at the house of Mr. Dunderburg Jen- 
kins, in the northern part of this State. Mr. Jenkins was a 
good, worthy man. He meant well, I am sure, but he had a col- 
lection of photographs^n an album upon his parlor-table which he 
insisted upon showing to every one who stopped at his house. 

" Don't you want ter see the fortygrafs ? Most remarkable col- 
lection." And so indeed it was. 

I will try to imitate in my own person as nearly as possible the 
pictures in that remarkable collection, together with the running 
comment upon the originals of the same with which Mr. Jenkins 
always favored his pictures. 

" That there is the fust Miss Jenkins. She enjoyed powerful 
bad health while she was among us. She's now in glory." 
[Hands folded and mouth draivn down on one side. Melancholy ex- 
pression.] 



AND RECITATIONS. 



25 



* That there is Thompson's boy Jimmy. Ah, he's a right) smart 
lad and handsome, too." 

[Feet ivide apart, anus stiff a Utile way from body, hands spread 
wide. Mouth ivide open and a dead stare in the eyes. Expres- 
sionless face. .] 

"That there is young Si. Hawkins. Oh, he's a regular highfalu- 
tin chap — he is. Been tew town quite a spell. Got that picter take 
on Bowery Street, which I reckon is somewhere near the Fifth 
Avenue. You see him standi n J there in one of hees most 'poller-like 
ackitudes. I call that picter Mie chafe duffer of the hull col- 
lection." 

[Feet crossed. Weight thrown on one hip. One elbow raised as 
though upon a mantel. Other arm akimbo. Conceited expires- 
sion of countenance.] 

" That there is Uncle Silas Hogwhistle. Powerful fine-lookin' 
man if 'twarnt fer the least bit of a cast inter one of hees eyes." 
[Arms folded. Eyes crossed. Upper lip inflated.] 
" That there is Parson Wheeler. He was a powerful exhorter 
and all them things, but worldly-minded. Warn't satisfied with 
hees salry — two hundred dollars a year — and only six in family. 
He's got another call now up to Higgles ville." 
[Hands clasped. Mouth drawn down and eyes rolled up. Sancti- 
monious expression of countenance.] r 
" That there is old grandma, ninety come next January." 
[Corners of mouth drawn up as high as possible. Eyes nearly closed. 
One hand grasping chin, and elboiv supported in the other.] ' 
" And that there's grandpa. 'Bout the same age." 
[Shoulders bent. Under lip drawn way down, showing lower teeth. 

Eyes screived up and hand behind ear as though deaf] 
[Resuming your own voice.] 

But I could endure no more. I fled the house. [Exit.] 



26 



WERNER'S READINGS 



SOME ENCORE BITS. 



OTHINGr secures the feeling of success with your audience 



better than to follow any set piece of recitation with one or 
two very brief bits of humorous pantomime. A short story with a 
good point, which enables you to leave the stage gracefully and 
happily amid a roar of laughter and applause. These little things, 
while they gain you the prestige of several recalls perhaps, and 
warm up an audience wonderfully, occupy so little time in an en- 
tertainment that the feeling of wearying produced by prolixity — 
one of the very worst possible impressions for a performer to pro- 
duce in an audience — is entirely avoided. 



My dear Friends : AYhen the Emperor Maximus Gorillus en- 
tered Rome after his series of brilliant military achievements in 
South Dakota, he was as usual ushered into the Latin capital by a 
grand triumphal procession. 

Among the many wonderful features of this magnificent spec- 
tacle was a musical instrument of peculiar construction. Upon 
a table were arranged a number of stalls of various lengths, 
the smaller upon the right and the larger upon the left, in gradu- 
ated succession. Each of these stalls contained a cat or kitten of 
corresponding proportions, ranging from an ancient Thomas cat, 
with a deep bass voice, up to an infantile kitten, with a high 
soprano. The tails of these pretty animals projected through 
holes in the backs of the stalls, and to each tail was affixed a 
handle working upon a hinge, so that by pulling the handles each 
cat or kitten was induced to emit his or her peculiar note. There 
were two full octaves in the instrument. 

I am not quite sure that the Carnival of Venice was in vogue 
at that time, but I am sure if it had been the performer would 
have selected it for his grand piece de resistance. So, without fur- 




THE FELINAPHONE. 



[ Very gravely and earnestly.'] 



AND RECITATIONS. 



27 



ther comment, I will endeavor to give you an idea how the Car- 
nival of Venice sounded upon the Felinaphone. 
[Plat/ or rather mew the Carnival with a piano accompaniment, 
pulling imaginary handles with great affectatio7i of vigor, once 
over simply and thsn with extravagant variations, ending with a 
loud caterwaul and exit. Make the cat business short and sharp, 
as the effect is lost by keeping it up too long.] 

THE JUGGLER. 

I attended a seance of mesmerism a few years ago, at which the 
patients or subjects were induced to do many remarkable and 
amusing things. One case that struck me particularly was a youth 
who was impressed by the Professor with the idea that he was a 
juggler at a theatre. 

I will endeavor to give you some idea of the young man as he 
appeared under the mesmeric influence. 

[Have a lively galop played. Go through the motions of a mes- 
merist making the passes over a sealed patient. Then with a 
sm ile to the audience say, as though addressing a seated figure :] 
" Young man, you are a juggler. Go on and show us some of 

your skill." 

[Make a sweeping boio like that of a circus performer. Pick up im- 
aginary balls and toss them under legs, over back, etc. Strike 
heroic attitude. Pick up imaginary plate, imitate spinning it 
upon a stick, then balance upon nose with appearance of great 
agility and skill. Add more plates. Attitude and sweep of arm. 
Then express in pantomime "Look at that muscle!" Pickup 
imaginary heavy cannon-ball and roll it across neck, toss it, etc. 
Tlien with straining muscles and forcing blood into the face, 
raise two exceedingly heavy balls straight above head and sloiuly 
lower them, arms extended, legs apart, and szoaying as tliough 
almost overcome by the weight. Drop as though tired. Siveep- 
ing gesture and glance around. TJienpick up imaginary sword. 
Fencing gestures and attitudes. Bend sword and let it spring 
out. Take hair from head and cut it in the air. Tlien fall 



28 



WERNER'S READINGS 



upon one knee and slowly press the sword down the throat. Draw 
it out with flour ish, bow with conceited, heroic air, and then come 
out of trance, looking scared, ashamed, and sheepish, and rush 
off the stage in a huddled up, shrinking manner. The success 
of this bit depends almost entirely on a natural ability for pan- 
tomime. ] 

DENTIST AND PATIENT. 

Ladies and Gentlemen : I shall now endeavor to be two 
people at once. 

Scene— Dentist's office or torture chamber. Enter patient. 
[Puff out one cheek and express great pain. Point to tooth, shake 
head, and raise hands. The dentist beams and rubs hands to- 
gether, shrugs shoulder with an easy wave of hand, as though to 
say, " Perfectly easy. Have it out in a moment." The patient 
expresses fear. The dentist beckons him back. The patient looks 
resigned, heroic. Then extract tooth, rigid arm and hand haul- 
ing and jerking at tooth and left hand grasping right as though 
in terror. One great pull and the tooth is out. Express with 
thumb and grimace, "Oh, ivhat a big hole! Big as that." Pay 
dentist and exit smiling upon imaginary tooth of great size which 
you hold between thumb and finger. 

ALPHABETICAL SERMON. 

[Read text from book very quietly and gravely, A, B, G, D, etc., to 
Z. Then repeal alphabet impressively and pointedly as though 
reading the text a second time. Then close book and begin A, B, 
C, as though saying firstly, laying one forefinger on the other. 
Again twice through alphabet argument at ively and quietly, then 
warningly , finishing on Z in a deep, impressive tone, pointing 
dovmivard. Then rapidly and in a questioning tone, going 
through pantomime of pitchforking, horns and humorous horror. 
Then once through in a tone of exalted 'joy, pantomime of flying 
and gazing about in admiration. Then through twice in a 
pleading tone, throwing passion and pathos into the voice. Then 



"AND RECITATIONS. 



29 



once through gravely, with eyes closed, and wind up with the 
words :] 

"The usual collection will now be taken up. 1 ' 

The above specimens of encore bits will servj ay a suggestion to 
the clever reader as to the sort of material to usu. The performer 
should keep his eyes and ears open in the street in society, and 
look through papers for hints and touches, and he will come across 
many a good and effective idea. In these little things, remember 
that the more familiar and easy your style is, and the more you 
give them the tone of something gotten up on the spur of the mo- 
ment, the more effective they will be. 



CLASSICAL MUSIC. 

T PITY any one who does not love classical music. IKe/e was 
A a time when I did not appreciate it myself, and I shudder when 
I think of my benighted state of mind at that period. There was 
a time when a barrel-organ playing a waltz beneath my window 
would set me spinning around the room in circles of terpsichorian 
delight ; when the brass band of a target company playing " Johnny 
■get your gun" would make me long for epaulettes and a war ; 
when I wagged my head and stamped my feet with the boys in ths 
gallery when the orchestra played a nigger melody. 

But, happily for my musical soul, this has all passed away, and 
now the organ-man " must go," if it costs me all my small change 
to get rid of him. The brass band jars upon my cultivated ear, 
and I always go out in the lobby at the theatre, and look cynica, 
and bored when the chef d'orchestrc fills up the time between the 
acts with a string of popular airs. I am now a passionate student 
of harmony and thorough bass. I thrill with delight when I con- 
template a sequence of dominant sevenths with major thirds, and 
revel in inversions of the flatted ninth. 

I have come to regard what I used to call a "tune "with abso 
lute horror ; and when I hear a piece of music which is new to me, 
I listen attentively, and if I detect the slightest intimation of any- 



30 



WERNER'S READINGS 



thing like a melody, I immediately assume a supercilious expres- 
sion suitable to my proper feelings under the circumstances, for I 
know it cannot be music of the highest order. That is the true 
test of music, and a simple rule by which the most ignorant may 
learn whether they ought or ought not to admire any given piece 
of music. If you know at once what it is all about, if it seems to be 
saying 1, 2, 3, hop, hop, hop, or 1, 2, bang, bang, bang, you may 
know at once that you are listening to something of a very low order, 
which it is your duty to despise. But when you hear something 
that sounds as though an assorted lot of notes had been put into 
a barrel and. were then stirred up vigorously like a kind of har- 
monious gruel, you may know it is a fugue, and you may safely 
assume an interested expression of countenance. If the notes ap- 
pear to have been dropped by accident into a well, and are being 
fished up at irregular intervals, in a sort of flaccid, drowned con- 
dition, it is likely to be a nocturne, which it is quite proper to 
admire. ' If the notes seem to come in car-loads, each load different 
from the last, and if it seems to take the train a very long time to 
pass any given point, it will turn out most likely to be a symphony, 
and symphonies, you know, are considered very fine. If the notes 
appear to be dumped out in masses, and. shovelled vigorously into 
heaps, and then blown widely into the air by explosions of dynamite ; 
that's a rhapsody, and rhapsodies are the very latest thing in music. 

Just here it may be well to observe that the very highest kinds 
of music are the oldest and the newest, that our admiration should 
be about equally divided between chromatic fugues composed in 
sixteen something and tone-pictures, rhapsodies, and suites. 

One general rule may be observed in forming a proper manner 
while attending a classical concert, which will save the neophyte a 
world of trouble and mortification. It is to look about you and 
discover the most serious, careworn-looking man, with the longest 
hair and the largest spectacles, in the audience, and by observing 
his changes of expression, his fits of enthusiasm, and his bursts of 
applause, and imitating them closely, you may always appear as 
one of the chosen few who have entered the high shekinah, and 
know a thing or two about classical music. 



READINGS AND RECITATIONS 

By MARY KYLE DALLAS. 



Werner's Readings No. 3 — page 31. 



INTRODUCTION TO PART II. 



I HAVE received so many requests from elocutionists, readers, 
and amateurs for certain of my published pieces, that the 
idea oi making a collection of the present nature has naturally 
suggested itself. If among the selections here contained there 
prove to be some that will aid the artist toward success and fur- 
nish a source of enjoyment to my dear friends the public, I shall 
be amply rewarded for my labor, and encouraged to repeat the 
present experiment at some future day. 

The public's grateful friend, 

Mary Kyle Dallas. 



Werner's Readings No. 3 — page 3 2. 



FATHER PAUL. 



'^HE fisherman's wife went down to watch. 



Her husband's boat come in from the sea; 
One babe lay at rest on her motherly breast, 

Another little one stood at her knee; 
And they said " Good-even" to Father Paul, 
Beading his book by the old church wall. 

His eyes they followed them over the sand — 
Over the sand and down to the sea — 

" Oh, never a woman in all the world 

Will lull my babe on her breast/' sighed he. 

" Mea culpa," moaned Father Paul, 

"To wear serge and sandal is not all." 

Afar the glint of the fisherman's sail 

Caught Rosabel's eye as she went to prayers. 

"Oh, happy," said she, " the woman must be 
Who joy and woe with her loved one shares ! 

Would that a boat sailed over the sea, 

Freighted as that boat is, for me." 

Father Paul by the convent wall 

Striving to read, striving to pray, 
Saw with his heart, if not with his eyes, 

What woman it was that came that way. 
" Oh, the heart is a snare," sighed Father Paul, 
" And Satan tempteth us, one and all." 

Father confessor, he sat in his chair; 

Penitent, knelt she upon her knee. 
" The purest angel in all the skies 

Might have more sin to confess than she." 
Thus to himself said Father Paul, 
Thus to himself, and it was not all. 




WERNER'S READINGS 



He put the crucifix into her hand — 
Into her hand as she knelt at his knee. 

"Thou hast not stolen? Thou hast not lied ? 
Thou hast not been light of love ?" asked he. 

For this he must say, young Father Paul, 

To kneeling penitents, one and all. 

And to each and all of the things he said, 

Of the things he asked, as she knelt at his knee, 

The girl said " No; " yet her golden head 
Lower and lower in shame bowed she. 

" Then must thou tell me," sighed Father Paul, 

" Whether thou hast done wrong at all." 

Then in the silence one could hear — 
The silence that lay between the two — 

The monastery bells ring out, 
Frightening the swallows as home they flew. 

" Daughter," he whispered, "tell me all." 
She made no answer to Father Paul. 

Eang the bells on the twilight air, 

Lengthened the shade of the convent wall; 

Silently still the girl knelt there, 
Knelt at the feet of Father Paul. 

Not a word, not a word, not a word was said ; 

But his young hand rested upon her head. 

" Hast thou coveted aught ?" said Father Paul, 
As he saw the fisher man's wife go by, 

Cuddling her babe in her knitted shawl, 
Lulled by the croon of a lullaby. 

" It needeth our Lord's grace most of all 

To covet nothing," said Father Paul. 



AND RECITATIONS. 



She saw the fisherman kiss his wife 

And toss the urchin, who crowed with glee, 

And under her lashes the hot tears crept. 
" Oh, I am sinner of sinners !" said she ; 

" I have coveted that, Father Paul, 

Which is heaven's only and heaven's all \" 

cl Is it the treasure our coffers hold ? 

Or the gems on the shrine of Our Lady fair? 
Or the cups and flagons of beaten gold ? 

Or the pearls that gleam in the Virgin's hair? 
Or the lands of our Church ?" asked Father Paul; 
" Or aught that our Church her own can call ?" 

" Oh, I am sinner of sinners \" said she ; 

" Oh, I am evil beyond compare ! 
A heart has turned from this weary world, 

And I to covet that pure heart dare. 
Its love is given to things divine, 
And I, a woman, would have it mine !" 

She could not look up into his eyes, 

But he heard the throb of her frightened heart, 
And saw the flush of her forehead rise 

Where the pale-gold tresses fell apart ; 
And his own heart's trembling told him all 
She would have hidden from Father Paul. 

" Child, thou art holier far than I; 

Nearer thy bosom the angels come. 
Oh, a soul so pure can never lie. 

Life's holiest things are heart and home, 
Holier far than the granite wall 
Of a monkish prison," said Father Paul. 



WERNER'S READINGS 



And he did not kiss her, as often do 

Father confessors, upon the brow : 
On her mouth his mouth, to kisses new, 

Showered kisses warmer for that, I trow; 
"And may God judge us, my love, for all, 
Though the priesthood ban us," said Father Paul. 

The monks of the monastery tell, 

How, one midsummer eve, in woman's guise, 
At the ringing of the vesper bell 

Satan gave them a sad surprise, 
And bore from the shade of their sacred wall 
Their best-loved brother, young Father Paul. 

But far away, under other skies, 

'Midst yellow waving of golden grain, 

A homestead's happy walls arise, 

Where love and plenty hold blissful reign; 

And he who is master of it all * 

His wife calls tenderly, " Father Paul." 



BROKEN DREAMS. 

HP HEY wake me from my happy sleep, 

The moonlight's pure and pallid beams. 
Diana fair, Diana cold, 

Why hast thou bid me leave my dreams ? 
For they were warm as thou art chill, 
And all my senses Avere a-thrill. 

What were they ? Ah ! they fade so soon. 

Two long-divided paths had crossed, 
But where, or if 'twere night or morn, 

Of this all memory is lost. 
I only know a love came back 
That died long since upon the rack. 



AND RECITATIONS. 



And bitter years were blotted out 
With all their weight of pride and pain ; 

As we can never meet on earth, 
I and another met again, 

Amidst some wild, sweet dreamland change, 

That made all right as it was strange, 

Eich odors from unnumbered flowers 
And murmurous music filled the air, 

And all adown the golden hours 
We drifted, to some sweet nowhere. 

The whole world for our own had we, 

And love was our eternity. 

Diana fair, Diana pale, 

'Twas ill to banish dreams so sweet ; 
They fly as fly the fleecy clouds 

That giide beneath thy silver feet. 
Calm from Endymion thou could'st part, 
But I — I have a woman's heart. 



THE STATUE'S STORY. 

T AM a statue of marble, 
I am white, I am cold, 
I stand in a niche of the window 

Of the grange gray and old ; 
The sunshine falls over me, 

Nor warms me one whit, 
The noontide grows golden, 

/ whiter yet. 

I stand in a niche of the window 

Of the old gray grange; 
All through the bright day's changes 

I know no change; 



WERNER'S READINGS 



Before me, without in the road, 

Carriage and wain roll by; 
Men a-horse, men on foot, 

Nothing care I. 

Within is a little white couch. 

Spread over with silk, 
And a pillow of eider-down, 

Whiter than milk. 
Over the head of the bed hang 

A cross and a face, — 
The face of a beautiful woman 

All passion and grace. 

When the red day hath departed^ 

And the moonshine 
Rims the crown of each mountain, 

Fringes each pine, 
Through the still pass I hear, 

Rippling along, 
The voice of my love, my dear, 

Lifted in song. 

"I am coming, beloved," he sings, 

" Coming to worship thee." 
Clearly his sweet voice rings; 

But he sings not to me. 
*Tis to the face of the woman, 

Glowing and bright, 
That he chants, and not to a statue 

Of marble, dead white. 

When in mid -skies the moon hangeth, 

Looking at me, 
My best-beloved comes to his chamber, 

Bendeth his knee; 



AND RECITATIONS. 



First to the cross at his pillow, 

Then to the face 
Of the golden-haired, dusk-eyed woman, 

All passion and grace. 

He sayeth to heaven a prayer, 

To her wild words doth he say: 
I have heard, as I stood in the window 

Of the grange, old and gray, 
Accents burning with passion, 

Woful with long delay, 
I knew what they meant, though I stand here, 

A statue to-day. 

For when the angel of slumber 

Waveth her dusky wing, 
Lulls him asleep by her magic, 

Happens an o'er-strange thing. 
I have an hour when the pulses 

Of life are mine own, 
And I stand no more in the window, 

A statue of stone. 

My cheeks grow red like the roses, 

My lips are parted with sighs; 
I step from the niche in the window. 

And kiss his sleeping eyes; 
I pass my hand o'er his forehead, 

In my fingers his hair I take; 
I call him love-names many, 

Nor fear that he will wake. 

For the same strange spell lies on him 

Then, that lieth else on me. 
The hour that he sleepeth I awake, 

My waking he may not see. 



40 



WERNER'S READINGS 



I kiss him until the cock-crow, 

And then I make my moan, 
And stand in the niche of the window, 

A statue of stone. 

At dawn, down the pass of the mountain, 

His farewell I hear. 
Echo flings back the burden, 

" Adieu, my clear, 
Until I return again 

To kneel at thy shrine, 
Kissing the cross and thee, 

lady mine !" 

Oh, his kisses upon my marble 

Would wake it, I know; 
He could break the spell that has frozen 

My bosom to snow. 
But he knows not the power of his magic. 

He turneth away 
To the picture, and leaves me a statue 

In the niche, cold and gray. 



OUT OF THE BOTTLE. 



TT was a rat-trap of an old house. Its walls bulged, its floors 
slanted, the cellar was full of water, the roof leaked ; no one 
had lived there for years, but it had once been a handsome place, 
and the name it was called by was the name of a good old family. 
Why did it stand empty until it fell to decay? 

Haunted — said the neighbors. And so I, who have a predilection 
for haunted houses, went wandering about it one day, sending the 
mice scampering away into their holes, frightening the black beetles, 
and enraging the spiders that were weaving their webs from one 
door-post to the other. Where did the ghost live ? I looked into 
the parlor. The tattered remains of some old shades hung at the 



AN'D RECITATIONS, 



41 



windows, and a rusty shovel and tongs upon the hearth told of the 
hospitable fires that had smouldered out long ago. In the bedrooms 
only a broken candlestick and a cracked ewer had been left over 
from those days when white linen was spread upon the bed in the 
guest-chamber, and the crow of the chanticleer awakened master 
and mistress, and Dolly the dairy-maid, and all the rosy children. 

The ghost was not there; neither was he up garret, where he be- 
longed. I looked the whole house over for him, until at last in the 
kitchen, where a red and cracked stove was all that remained -to 
whisper of the many comfortable dinners that had been cooked and 
eaten, I found on a high old shelf a long, black bottle, and rather 
from idleness than interest set it upon the mantel-shelf. 

No sooner had I done so than I saw 7 that it was no ordinary bottle. 
It looked like one, as it stood in the closet, but no sooner was it set 
upon the mantel-piece, with its label, " Whiskey," plainly visible to 
the beholder, than I saw rising from its mouth a sort of smoke, 
which by slow degrees condensed itself into a figure of hideous 
aspect, though of tiny proportions, until finally I saw perched upon 
the neck of the bottle a little, greenish-colored imp, with long 
horns, Satanic hoofs, red eyes, and great, white fangs. I stared at 
it in horror. 

" Who are you ?" I asked. 

The thing looked at me and grinned, slapped the bottle with its 
hand, and answered : 

" I am the ghost who haunts this house." 
I shrank away. 

" You needn't be afraid," it said. "I'm harmless until some one 
fills my bottle. I'm quite superannuated now. I'm garrulous in 
my old age, and would like to talk. I remember when I came here. 
It was on a wedding-day. Two young people were married, and an 
old man brought me in this very bottle as a wedding present. 
'The best old Bourbon,' said he. No one saw me grinning through 
the glass, but they pulled the cork and out I came. I perched my- 
self where I could see them all, and nodded as they pledged each 
other. 

"That night the bride sat and cried by herself; the bridegroom 



42 



WERNER'S READINGS 



was lying drunk on the sofa below. I liked that, ha, ha! It pleased 
me. After that I stayed here. The bottle kept full. In a little 
while the bride did not cry about it. She took her glass too. 

"They were handsome young people. It took two years for his 
nose to turn purple, and she was not red-eyed for five. Children 
came; they had whiskey and sugar to suck before they were able to 
eat meat — five of them — and the father was seldom sober. No 
wonder the old place was mortgaged soon, the woods cut down, 
some land sold. 

" All went to ruin fast. Once, however, I was disappointed. The 
man swore he would reform, stuffed me up into the corner of a shelf, 
and kept sober for a year. I was wretched then. However, one 
day a new baby came. Old Nurse Dickerman was with the mother. 

<ff Just a little something warm would do us all good/ she said ; 
and down came the bottle, out came the cork. Out I flew. I saw 
my man's eyes glitter, and I danced an hour that night as he 
sprawled on the floor before the fire, and his youngest boy pulled 
his whiskers and cried, 'Dit up, papa.' 

" But the father did not awaken, and the little thing, left to 
itself — for Nurse Dickerman was very sound asleep herself, — pulled 
the kettle of boiling water over upon it. It was scalded to death. 

" Then there was another spell of corking me up. Bah! I knew 
it would not last forever. But it did last a good while — for years, 
indeed; and the eldest children were tall slips of lads, and every* 
thing w T as looking up again, when one Christmas time somebody 
mixed a bowl of punch. It was a merry Christmas for me. At 
midnight two tipsy boys fell to fighting — two brothers who had 
never quarrelled before. One killed the other. 

"This time the bottle was not corked again. The father drank 
to drown his sorrow ; the son to bury his remorse ; the mother that 
she might not remember. Let me think it over. What came then ? 
More land sold — decay and desolation everywhere. One son runs 
away to sea. One robs his employer and goes to prison. The girl 
— well, she ran away, too; I don't know all the story. And one 
night my man — I call him my man because he loved me so — was 
brought home on a shutter— a bleeding mass — dead. He had been 



AND RECITATIONS. 



43 



very drunk, and had gone up into the church-tower and jumped 
off. 

"Now only the woman was left— an old woman, shabby, dirty, 
poor, a widow, and childless. She was a pretty young bride when 
I first saw her. She filled me well ; she emptied me often. At 
last, one day she sat over the fire. She had been drinking, and her 
breath was heavy with the fumes of liquor. A flame leaded up and 
caught it. The next morning what looked like a charred log lay 
upon the floor. The coroner called it 'Spontaneous combustion/ 
I couldn't help laughing." 

"You fiend!" cried I. 

" Yes," said the little imp, " that's what I am. I'm stupid now, 
though, and superannuated, as I said. Do me a favor — won't you ? 
Just fill the bottle up, and you'll see what I can do." 

But the next moment I had seized the bottle by the neck and 
cast it upon the hearth, where it lay scattered in a thousand frag- 
ments, and so laid the ghost of the old house. 



MOTHERS AND FATHERS: 
TWO PICTURES. 

I ITTLE WILLY. — Mother ? Oh, you mean my mamma. Oh, 
she's nicer than anybody else. She calls me her little dar- 
ing, and she gives me pretty toys, and reads me nice books. She 
;eaches me to say my prayers at night ; and nothing can hurt me 
iven when it is dark, because the good angels watch over me. But 
I'm not afraid, anyhow, for she would cuddle me all up if anything 
nade me cry. We go out to walk together, and she tells me about 
ill the things I see ; and I'm going to learn fast, and grow up, and 
>e a big boy to be proud of. I won't do anything mean to make 
ler ashamed ; and I wouldn't say a naughty swear word like the 
>oys in the street, because she would cry to hear me so wicked. 
Ihe made me that little white rabbit and my new jacket, and when 
had the measles she sat by me all day. Once she went away on a 



44 



WERNER'S READINGS 



visit, and I cried — I was so lonesome. She was lonesome, too. Sh 
don't like to go away from home long. She's the nicest person in 
the world ; only papa is just as nice. He kisses me when he goes 
out, and he rides me on his back in the garden, and he makes rab 
bits on the wall with his fingers, and he takes mamma and me out 
to ride, and says we are his treasures, and he takes care of us both 
and mamma says he's the best man in the world, and I guess he is 
Little Neddie. — My mamma is pretty. She's so pretty 1 wan 
to kiss her, but I muss her hair. She don't often come to breakfast 
with papa and me, because she gets so tired dancing at the balls, sie 
When I tumbled down stairs and broke my arm she was at a party 
and she didn't know it until next day. But if she gets up I don' 
think it's nice, for papa scolds her, and says he'll put an end tcjJpoHtica] 
waltzing with the captain. Does your ma ever waltz with captains 
And do you think pa don't like it because the captain might ge 
mad and kill her with his sword? I'm afraid of soldiers. I'nfjtutei 
afraid of ghosts, too. Biddy says if I don't sleep sound a ghost wil 
fetch me up chimney. Biddy is our French maid, with a capfwuey, 
She gives the bread and butter to her cousin James, and I can't g 
to sleep because I am so hungry. I told pa once, and he said^ 
" Poor child ! why, have you no mother ?" but I asked if ma wasiv 
my mother, and I don't know what he meant. I don't go into ma 
room, because I'm troublesome. I spilt the aurora, one day, a 
over the rouge and lily white. Don't you know what they are fen. 
Why, they are things to make ma look pretty. But I wouldn't cai* 
if pa would make me a kite, like the one your pa made for yoi 5D1 pb n 
But he's always so busy, and he groans so when he's home. Enditcloti 
goes down town all day, and once I asked ma what he went fo Well,?] 
and she said, "To make money, and that is all he is good ftin h thooi 
Did your pa ever fail ? My pa says he will, if ma's dressmakei ' a hat wii 
bill is three thousand and twenty-one dollars again. But ma sa 
he's only a miser. I guess I'd like to come to your house and ha fe 
your ma and pa instead of mine. 



isajrii 

(lu( 

lading 
i ikk 
life, 
iouk < 



in a 



litter wi 
a 



et 
single 
often tei 
L 

anjpe ( 



par nice, j 

back, 
•liaa, n\ 



AND RECITATIONS. 



45 



MRS. TUBBS AND POLITICAL ECON- 
OMY. 



ut \ \ /"ELL, really, since listening to that wonderful Miss Bigwitz 
■\ who lectured to us on Thursday night, I have felt ashamed 



115 



)f myself. For a girl who was so much thought of in school, I 
'lave neglected my mind dreadfully. I know Miss Bigwitz is right 
n saying that a woman can't be her husband's companion unless 
he does improve her mind. My husband, Jefferson Tubbs, the 
eading butter-dealer in Creamtown, ought not to find a want of in- 
ellectual companionship at home. I'll begin this minute and read 
political economy. It's vacation, and the children have no lessons 
o look over. No better time, I'm sure. Here it is": " Principles 
e|f Political Economy ;" and here is a chapter on " Credit as a Sub- 
stitute for Money." 

I'm sure that credit did not turn out well as a substitute for 
cs loney, when Jefferson let those Poachers have ten tubs of the best 
utter without sending in his bill. They haven't paid for 'em yet. 
Ji! I agree with this writer: "The functions of credit have been 
subject of as much misunderstanding and as much confusion as 
ny single topic in political economy." I should think so, indeed ! 
often tell Jefferson what I think of that. No credit ought to be 
iven. Let me see what comes next. Ah, yes: " This is not owing 
.,, aI ) any peculiar difficulty in the theory of the subject, but to the 
v01 Dmplex nature of some of the mercantile phenomena in which 
g-edit clothes itself." 
Well, what a wonderful observer this writer is, to be sure. I've 
ften thought I should be ashamed to go out, as Mrs. Poacher does, 
J I a hat with fourteen ostrich tips that have not been paid for, and 
brocade velvet cloak she is dunned for every morning. Mercan- 
tile phenomena, indeed! That's just what she wears! I'd rather 
ear nice, plain, lady-like things. No mercantile phenomena goes 
l my back! Oh, gracious, what's the matter now? 
Selina, what is the matter ? You're soaked to the skin. Fell 
to the pond, and most drowned, and got a little fish in your ear ? 



wii 



said 



are 



ntfo 



46 



WERNER'S READINGS 



Why, you'll be deaf for life. Oh, there, it's out! You've killed 
me with fright. Where's the baby ? You don't know! Run every- 
body and look for baby. Oh, gracious! Nora's got her! What a 
mercy! You shan't one of you go out again. Sit down there, and 
read your books. 1 can't improve my mind while you go on so. 
Political economy takes a lot of studying over, and it's a most im- 
portant subject. It's tiresome, too. I feel as if I'd improved my 
mind enough for one day, and I'll do a block of my crazy quilt now, 
for, really, my brain feels quite overworked, and I ought to rest it. 



AUNT BETSY ON MARRIAGE. 

i/ 

"T^VEAR ME! When we think of what we might do and don't do 
— of the opportunities we neglect — we have great cause to re- 
proach ourselves. I'm very, very sorry that youthful levity caused 
me to refuse the hand of Mr. Melancthon Gypsum when I was a 
girl. I objected to him because he had warts on his nose and was 
cross-eyed. What a silly young creature I was, to be sure! Such 
an opportunity! Why, you know him, dear. It is the Dr. Gypsum 
who is paying attention to Widow Potkins now. He has found five 
partners to share his labors. Why, you shocking girl! No, he's 
not a Mormon. He's had the misfortune to lose five wives. Thath 
nothing to smile at, I'm sure ! 

When he proposed to me I was a mere child. He told me he waf 
well aware that no woman's constitution would stand the climate h( 
was going to more than two years. He was then twenty-one, anc 
expected to stay abroad until he was forty, so he would have nine o: 
ten wives at least during his sojourn in that foreign land, and 
suppose he thought it was my duty to be the first one. He didn' 
look for happiness in this wicked world, he said, and he hoped 
didn't either. But, as I said, I was frivolous at the time. The firs 
Mrs. Gypsum lived two years. I've read her biography. Th 
natives used her dreadfully, She was just eighteen when she lef 
this world. 

Ah! when I called at the parsonage the other day I saw the por 



pictor 

n 

pictur 
Washi 



AND RECITATIONS. 



47 



traits of Dr. Gypsum's wives, all in a row : Clarissa Gypsum, aged 
eighteen; Maria Gypsum, aged twenty; Martha Gypsum, aged 
seventeen (she died on the voyage over); Sarah Gypsum, aged 
twenty-four, and Amelia Gypsum, who lived to be forty. She was 
a widow when the doctor married her, and the only one of his wives 
that knew how to manage natives. Mr. Gypsum came home one 
day and found her driving two of 'em about harnessed to a little 
basket carriage. They thought it was their duty; she'd told 'em 
'twas. Mr. Gypsum didn't like it, but / think it was right smart of 
her. Don't you ? 

They fried her in slices at last, I'm told, and offered her up to a 
big stone idol with three noses, that they thought all the world of. 
All of 'em came to some violent end but the one that died going 
over; and two or three of the little babies were carried off, ar>d may- 
be are worshipping idols now, for all we know about them. Dear 
me! I've seen the biographies of the five wives, all in blue and 
gold, with a portrait on the first page. 

Ah! if I hadn't been so frivolous mine might have been among 
'em. There isn't one so good looking as I am, and how proud I 
should have been of it, to be sure. But that's the way with young 
girls ; they can't see what's best for 'em. 



THE SLOWLYS AT THE PHOTOGRA- 
PHER'S. 



APPEN," said Sam, the other day, to pa, "have you had your 



pictur' taken yet ?" 
"No," says pa, "we hain't. Cherubs and young gals look well 
enough in pictur's, but arter fifty years o' seafarin' a man ain't 
pictorial." 

"Why, cappen," says Sam, "all distinguished men have their 
pictur's taken. There's Sherman, and Sheridan, and General 
Washington, and Bismarck, and Gladstone, and all the rest of 'em 
have all been took frequent." 

"Well/' says the cappen, " that's no rule for me." 




48 



WERNER'S READINGS 



" Oh, pa," says Minervy, "let's hev our pictures taken in a family 
group." 

" Do, pa," says I. 

" Very well/' says pa. " If you want to do it, do it. I'll go along." 

So we went. The pictur'-room was atop o' the house, and arter 
we'd climbed there nobody but the cappen, who is used to gales of 
wind, could speak to the folks for want of breath. 

So he marches up to the gentleman that stood in the middle of 
the room, looking, us Minervy said, just like Shakespeare, with his 
turn-down collar and p'inted beard, though I never knew Mr. 
Shakespeare myself, and couldn't say. And says he, "Here's Mrs. 
Cappen Slowly, and my darter Minervy, and Cousin Sam, and me, 
all come to be took, mate. We want to be in one pictur', and take 
us as large and bright as you can. It ain't my doin' comin', but 
the wimmin folks', so don't sot it down to vanity." 

By this time Sam got his breath. 

" Mister," says he, "the cappen is modest. He's worthy not only 
of havin' his pictur' took, but of havin' it framed. This here is 
Cappen Slowly, commander o' the Amelia, lastly mnnin' betwixt 
Onerville and Muddy Holler with cargoes o' kindlin'-wood and fine 
feed, but formerly afloat on the boundin' billers of the onconquora- 
ble ocean. Take him good." 

"We shall do our best," says the pictur'-taker. 

Jest then / got my breath. " Mister," says I, " if you please, I'd 
like to be took younger. I've got dreadful old these last ten years, 
I'd ruther hev' my wrinkles left out." 

Mr. Shakespeare — I mean the man that looked like him — bowed 
and smiled. 

Minervy said nothin'. Only when she wus asked she said she pre- 
ferred standin' behind her ma and pa. So Sam he preferred that 
too. 

So we wus all screwed up at the back of our necks as if we were 
going to be executed, and the gentleman says : 

"I beg you will not move/' and retires behind a curtain. Just 
then the cappen takes out his pocket-handkercher and blows his 
mose. 



AND RECITATIONS. 49 

It wusin consequence o' that that the pictur' took as it did. It 
wus all pocket-handkerchers. 

The gentleman looked perlite but worried. 

Says he, " If you please, you must sit again, and quietly, I beg." 
So we wus screwed up again. 

This time toe wus all right, but Minervy and Sam were two big 
blots bumpin' against each other. 

The cappen look at 'em. 

"Sam," says he, "I don't make no charges, but ef you'd kissed 
Minervy, this here might have looked jest so/' 
" As ef I'd have let him," says Minervy. 
Sam only turned the color o' biled beets. 

So we sot again, like clockwork, bolt upright. Bat bless you ! 
jest as all wus ready, I sneezed ! 'Twusn't my fault. I couldn't 
help it. 

This time Mr. Shakespeare (I can't help call in' him so) wus per- 
litely mad. He gave us a lectur' on the perpriety o' sittin' quiet 
when we wus a bein' took. 

"Well," said I, "I know it is necessary, but sneezin' is done in 
unguarded minutes. I couldn't help it." 

So we sot again. This time you never saw such frozen objects — 
like cast iron. We must take good now, says I. But at the solemn 
minute of coverin' up the pictur' machine and Mr. Shakespeare 
altogether with black, like a walkin' funeral, Sam trod on Minervy's 
toe, and, in gettin' off, oversot himself. Over he came a top o' the 
cappen, and both of 'em together on the floor, and the back out of 
the chair, and two of the spokes, which, bein' of white wood, I took 
for the cappen's bones when I see 'em a lyin' on the floor, and. 
screeched horrid. 

But nobody wus hurt, except that by this time Mr. Shakespeare 
wus frantic, and came out so red in the face I thought he wus a 
goin' to have apperplexy. 

Says the cappen, "Mate, we've broke your chair and spiled your 
pictur'. What's the damage ?" 

But he said the chair had been injured before, and asked us to 
sit again. 



50 



WERNER'S READINGS 



So we sot. This time nothing happened. Mr. Shakespeare came 
out and told ns the pictur' wus all right. 
And we waited. 

He went into a little room, and staid a while. 

Then out he marched, smiling contented, and proud, and give us 
the pictur'. 

I give one look at it. Says I : 

" Them are us?" Then I sat down overcome. 

The pictur' wus on iron, kinder cloudy and the biggest parts of 
us wus our upper lips. My mouth wus from ear to ear, and Min- 
ervy's met behind. As for the cappen, his nose is small by natur' 
and as it wus took by art it skeered me. 

The cappen looked at it kinder stern. 

" My lad," says he, " we hev' give you trouble, but you'd orter 
hev' revenged yourself better than to caricatur' us this way. We 
ain't objects of ridicule I hope, my lad, to you and your mate ?" 

" Far from it," says Mr. Shakespeare. " Those are in my opinion 
good likenesses." 

" Mate," says the cappen, " it's hard to know yourself. I'd hev 
said, wal, mebbe arter all that is like me. But I kin see Mrs. 
Slowly, and Minervy, and Cousin Sam, and never hev' I seen 'em 
grim and savage like these. When we paired off, my Sarah wus as 
likely a lass as ever walked, and I don't see more change than usual. 
And though we've been to Barnum's biggest show on earth, he 
didn't ask to have Minervy and Sam there, as he would if they'd 
looked like this. It's a shabby trick, my lad, and it makes it wuss 
to call 'em likenesses. I shan't take the pictur'. But I'll pay you 
for your trouble if you'll put it in the fire." 

Then Mr. Shakespeare kinder turned on his heel and walked off, 
and talked to some ladies comin' in, and the cappen pitched the' 
pictur' into the stove himself, and put a dollar on the table, and we 
walked out. 

Since then I've seen more pictures, and I've kinder made up mv 
mind it wusn't done a purpose. 



AND RECITATIONS. 



51 



A FASHIONABLE VACATION. 

/^\FF the first of next week ! My goodness ! What a lot of 
things to be done ! I think I shall go crazy. The poor 
girls haven't a thing to wear, and 1 am like a beggar. Twenty- 
eight new dresses last summer ? Yes, I know, dear, but that was 
only seven apiece, and nothing but side-pleating was worn then, 
and now everything is puffed. Can't I puff up the side-pleatings? 
Oh ! if that isn't exactly like a man. But no matter, dear ; you 
can't help it ; you were born so. Puffings are bias and pleatings 
are straight. 

Ah ! if we were only able to go off camping at four hours' notice 
, as the boys are, with a lot of blue shirts and some celluloid col- 
lars ! If the girls were sensible, we might ? Now there is an- 
other proof that girls need a mother. Poor things ! If I were to 
die I've no doubt you'd take them to the country in plain blue 
flannel dresses and fisherman's hats, as Doctor Duckweed does his 
two poor orphans. 

And how rosy and fat they are when they come back ? Oh, yes, 
dear; rosy enough, and fat enough. Miss Delight, our dressmaker, 
tells me their belts are twenty-six inches ! Now, Maud and Mil- 
dred are eighteen inches and Eose is only twenty. I've seen to 
their corsets since they were ten years old. Let me see — lend me 
your pencil, dear. What will you allow me for dresses ? I know 
you are very generous to the girls, and though of course I don't 
care myself — very much otherwise — I must be elegant to chaper- 
one them. 

Oh! I'll show you their shoes, dear. I've got them their shoes 
already. Well — what a face! Did you ever see anything so 
pretty ? And only number two and a half ! They can't take a 
country walk in those high heels? Why, of course not, you old- 
fashioned soul ! And come home all tanned and blowsy, and with 
great, vulgar appetites; and young Richards, and old Mr. Bloom- 
ingburg, and all the rest to be there ! 

My goodness, dear! I believe you think I take all this trouble 



52 



WERNER'S READINGS 



every year, and put you to all this expense, just to give the girls 
fresh air and country walks. Why, we could all go down to poor 
old Uncle Peter's and board on the fat of the land for five dollars a 
week a piece, and any old things would do; and as for walks and hay 
rides, and boating, there'd be no end. And I should enjoy it. But 
time is flying; our eldest girl is twenty — though you must not tell 
anybody — and we must get them married well. That's what going 
to Saratoga, and Newport, and all the rest of it, means to loving 
mothers, dear. 

What! You're shocked ? You think of Turkish slaves ? You 
wouldn't have your girls marry a young rascal like Richards or a 
dishonest millionaire like Bloomingburg ? When a good man loves 
one of them — Oh, stop there, you dear, old-fashioned thing, and 
let a mother do her best for her darlings. How much will you 
give me this season ? 



MRS. WINKLE S GRANDSON. 

n^HIS is my grandson, Billy, Mr. Bernacle. I'm sure after 
A you've been here a month you'll think as much of him as I 
do. He's so lively and agreeable ! The house is never dull as long 
as he is in it. You can hear him from the time he gets up until 
he goes to bed. There isn't a comic song he don't know, nor a 
byword; and he plays the accordeon foe-utiful— don't you, Billy, 
pet ? 

" Must be a musical genius ?" Oh, yes, sir ; but he's so vari- 
ously gifted, too, is Billy. He's real inventive. As soon as ever he 
sees a watch he picks it to pieces and makes a windmill of it. Of 
course I don't let him have the boarders' watches generally ; but 
sometimes he to ill get 'em, and some folks is so tetchy. 

Mr. Bernacle, this is the room ; nice and airy, ain't it ? Yes, 
the windows are a little broken. " Every pane cracked ?" Yes, so 
I see. We'll have that fixed in no time. Poor little Billy did that 
with his pea-shooter. It's a joy to see him, he can hit so straight. 
I often sit and watch him. 



AND RECITATIONS. 



53 



" Furniture looks scratched ?" Well, you see, Billy is real talented 
— likes to draw and paint. You ought to see the pictures he 
draws of the boarders; comic pictures, with words coming out of 
their mouths on scrolls. He hits 'em off so't I die a laughing e'en a'- 
most. 

" Is this Billy's room ?" Oh, no, sir. He sleeps nearer his own 
grandma than that ; but somehow the dear child has got a key that 
opens all the doors, and I can't find where he hides it. I'd think 
it my duty to take it away if I could, but after all, we wouldn't 
have half the amusing surprises we do if he hadn't it. He makes 
it so gay and lively for us with his jokes. 

Yes, the arm does come off that big chair. Billy makes a horse 
of it ; but we'll mend it. I think you'd better have this room, it's 
so cheerful. Eh ! Not coming at all ? Well — as you please, of 
course. Billy, you shouldn't have done that, screwing the gentle- 
man's coat-tails to the door-post while we were talking. See what 
a piece he has torn out, turning suddenly. Good-by, sir. Humph! 
Old Sobersides! Nothing would make him laugh. We don't want 
such a boarder, do we, Billy ? 



THE .SLOWLYS AT THE THEATRE. 



AACHEN I came to York I hadn't ever been to a play. That plays 
wus wicked I had always heerd, and there wus an actor at 
the tavern a spell that drank like mad, besides bavin' three wives, 
all of which came after him, and made the landlady's heart ache 
cryin' in the parlor, and he unfeelin' as a frog, and ended by com- 
mittin' suicide. 

I hadn't ever been to a play, and when the cappen came home, 
and says he : 

"Now, ma and Minervy, put on your new top-sails, for I'm goin' 
to steer you to a theayter this evenin'," 

Why, I opened my eyes and lifted up my hands, and says I : 
" Cappen, don't talk wicked." 
" What d'ye mean, ma ?" says he. 




54 



WERNERS READINGS 



" Why, pa," says I, " plays are sinful." 
" Who told you so ?" says he. 

Says I, " I dunno who told me. It's one o' them facts folks 
knows from the kind o' intooition ; but I suppose it won't hurt to 
go and see the play, and if it's wicked we'll never go no more." 

"Agreed, ma," says he. 

So Minervy and me went and dressed ourselves in our best, and 
off we went in an omnibus, and down we wus sot at the door of the 
theayter. 

I dunno what wickedness players may be up to, but there wus a 
young man walled up alive sellin' tickets. I looked and looked, 
and there wusn't any door for him to get out at, only a window, 
and I suppose they put his food in that way. I asked the cappen, 
and he says: 

" Sarah, accordin' to my reckonin', they're afraid he'd make off 
with all that money if so be he had his liberty, and p'raps it's in 
the agreement that he shall be walled up for a certain space o' time. 
Tickets, if you please, mate." 

"How many ?" says' the poor young man, quite brisk and cheer- 
ful. 

Says he, "For me and these two ladies — wife and darter." 
" Eeserved seats ?" says the young man. 

" We want first-cabin passage, whatever it is," says the cappen. 

So he gave us tickets, and in we went. It looked like meetin'. 
Everybody in there had bun nets, and all sittin' up proper jest as if 
they wus goin' to be preached to. 

" I don't believe it's a bit wicked, Minervy," I said. 

"La, don't, ma," says Minervy. " Everybody'll hear you." 

Well, a nice, slick young man that they called an usher pointed 
out our seats, and pretty soon the music began. It wus splendid. 
I never heerd such music, though Minervy and her cousin Sam does 
play duets together on the piannerforty and the fiddle sometimes. 

There wus a beautiful pictur' straight before me, and I wus ad- 
mirin' it, when suddenly it rose up; and then I began to know 
what the theayter wus. 

There wus the nicest young gal you ever knew wus obliged to 



AND RECITATIONS, 



55 



)lay a guitar and sing to get victuals to eat; and there wus a young 
nan that had come from the country somewhere, and whether he 
mew the money wus counterfeit or not, I wouldn't like to say, for 
\ myself gave our grocer a bad half-dollar, and never knew it until 
I wus given back. But he passed it, anyhow. But there wus some 
rood in him, for he gave real money to the poor gal with the guitar, 
md it wus pretty to see how obligated she wus to him. 

But it seemed to me, too, that that young man — Robert Brierly 
vus his name — wus jest a little the worse for somethin' he'd taken. 
He wus pretty, though, with his yellow hair and pink cheeks, and 
ivhen they came and arrested him I jest riz up, and says I: 

"Do let him off! I'm sure he didn't know it, and if he did he 
livon't do it again." 

Says the cappen, " Ma, don't interfere. Law is law, and when 
it's broke must have its course. There'll be a trial, and if he ain't 
guilty, why he'll clear himself." 

So I jest sat down and cried, and waited jest as anxious as if he 
had been a neighbor. 

Well, the curtain riz again. I don't know why they didn't leave 
it up to let us see what happened. And there wus the young gal. 
She didn't play the guitar no more for a livin', but took in sewin'. 
I thought the more of her for takin' up some respectable trade as 
soon as she could, as I told the lady next me; and she paid her rent 
regular, for so the old lady down stairs said when she come in for it. 
A nicer old lady I never knew, and how I felt for her! 

That grandchild of hers wus the plague of her life, and she sat 
down and told us all about it. 

Says I, " Ma'am, I know your feelin's well, and there's Mrs. 
Brown, down our way, she suffers as you do with hers." 

Says the cappen, " Beggin' pardon, ma'am. But have you rope's- 
ended him ? i Spare the rod and spile the child ' is scriptur'. If he 
troubles you any more, jest hand him over to me and I'll fix him." 

" Oh, do hush," says Minervy. 

"Minervy," says I, "when I'm spoke to I shall answer, be it 
where it may." 

Mrs. Jones she lived in the same house, too. She's lovely, but 



1 



56 WERNER'S READINGS 

not, as I should say, genteel. And as for singin' when I had sucl 
a cold and wus so obliged to sneeze, I wouldn't do it. I felt sorn 
for her, and says I, " Don't, ma'am, I beg. I know that you'll h 
hoarse to-night, for a cold ain't to be trifled with. Take a cup o 
yarb tea and soak your feet in hot water, and don't put yoursell 



Brieriy v,- 
fcns t( 
01V" 
're d( 



lai 



Then everybody laughed. Why, goodness knows. 

I felt so took up with Mr. Brieriy that I couldn't think of an} 
one but him. Well, he wus engaged to Miss May, and they didn't 
like to toll it, so she called him her brother. And I've knowE 
plenty who thus spoke of their steady company as cousins, and i 4 - 
wusn't much worse. 

And then to see Mr. Brieriy in the nice old gentleman's office, 
lookin' so spruce and bright, and behavin' so nice, and goin' to be 
married to Miss May. 

" Well," says I to pa, " I never felt more pleased about a stranger 
in my life. " 

Oh my! oh my! and jest then the dreadfulest things were comin' 
to him. Troubles never come single, you know, and it shows what 
keepin' bad company is. They turn up jest when they're not 
wanted, after you've tried to get rid of 'em. 

Mr. Hawkshaw, he wus a detective, and, I should say, a nice, 
steady man, though with a temper, and he never told a word about 
what he knew to the old gentleman that hired Bob Brieriy in his 
office; and how could he, when Mr. Brieriy stood askin' him not 
to, with his eyes? I didn't durst speak to Mr. Hawkshaw, because 
the old gentleman might have heerd, but I jest nodded and 
winked at him, as much as to say, (i I saw what you did, and I take 
it very kind of you." 

And then there came in such a nice old gentleman — oh, so re- 
spectable, that nobody ever would have thought he could do any 
wrong. I'm sure I'd have trusted him with thousands; and if he 
didn't try to pick the safe open! And, bless you! Mr. Brieriy 
caught him, and he wus a dreadful critter in disguise — one he'd 
knowed of old. And, out of revenge, the fellow that wanted to rob 
the safe went and got the other old thief to tell how that poor 



dowr 
'And 
so nil 
Butt! 
worlds, 
earryin' 
that pu 
him. i 
anil lie 
how pii 
And 
do but 



about 



Am 
breaki 
poor \ 



wus; 
An 
and 1; 

Mil, ! 



AND RECITATIONS. 



57 



'■Til 

tnd r 



Brierly was a ticket-of-leave man. And out it all come on the day 
A tie wus to be married! 
II I,' " Oh/' says I, turnin' to him. "Stop," says I. " Reflect on what 
you're doin', and be kind to that poor young man." But he never 
u ] looked at me, no more'n if I hadn't spoken, not a bit more; and 
way they went. And when the nice old lady, that I told you of, 
sat down, I saw her feelin's wus like mine. 

And it's too bad, ma'am," says I. "Jest when he wus gettin' 
3n so nice." 

But the worse hadn't come. I wouldn't go through it again for 
worlds. That nice young man came down to diggin' sewers and 
arryin' the hod. And even then sot agin by his bad companions, 
hat put even those common laborers up to turnin' their backs on 
him. And he hadn't a decent suit of clothes to his back, poor dear, 
and he hadn't had the heart to comb his hair; and his poor eyelids, 
how pink they were! Oh, my! I cried and cried. 

And then, down in that drinkin'-cellar, what did them wretches 
do but get at him and try to make him promise to help 'em rob 
his old master. And he agreed. 

Oh, dear!" says I. "Young man, don't, I beg and pray of 
you, don't. You'll feel the worse for doin' wrong." 

But then, how mistook I wus; for it wus only to find out all 
about it. And when they were gone down cellar, he wrote a note 
tellin' all about it. And, says he: 
" But who'll carry it?" 

And says the cappen : " Heave it here. I will, my lad." 
But Mr. Hawkshaw, he wus asleep on the table, and he took it. 
And then, if there wusn't the office outside, and if the house- 
breakers didn't go in, and if Robert didn't go in with 'em, and his 
poor wife lookin' over the gate, talkin' to that critter, that no name 
is bad enough for, and beggin' him to tell her where her husband 
wus; and all the while he wus in there with the house-breakers. 

And then there came Mr. Hawkshaw, and choked the old rascal, 
and laid down behind a tomb, and pounced on 'em when they come 
out, and there wus an awful fight, and the wretch shot poor Robert. 
Up jumped the cappen. 



jr 



58 



WERNERS READINGS 



" I'll help ye, my lads," says he. 

Says I, " Don't rush into danger, pa. Remember me and Minervy." 

But pa would have gone, only the gentleman playin' the violin 
caught him by the leg. 

Says he, "Stop, sir; assistance has arrived." And sure enough 
it had, and the rascals were treed, and Robert Brierly's wife and 
the old gentleman wus a-liftin' him up. 

There he sat, so white, all but his poor pink eyelids, and the 
blood runnin' from the awful wound on his forehead. And they 
were a-thankin' him, and says he, " There may be some good even 
in a ticket-of-leave man." 

" Oh," says I, " yes, yes. You've proved it, and we know you'll 
never do wrong no more if you live." 

But down came the curtain, and up riz the folks. Pa and me sat 
still. 

" Pa," says I, " I can't go until I know whether he'll get over it." 
" Nor I," says pa. 

So we went up front, and I caught hold of the sleeve of the young 
man that played the violin. 

3ays I, " Mister, if you please, is he better ?" 

"It looked pretty desperate. I've knowed men to die of less," 
said the cappen. " So don't laugh, mate. It's Mr. Brierly we ask 
after. My compliments, and Mrs. Slowly's, and our darter Min- 
ervy's, and how does he find himself ?" 

" And if there's any one needed to sit up, I'll come," says I, " and 
willin'." 

" And providin' he recovers," says the cappen, " I've a brother 
that deals in ship stores, and he'll give him a berth, and glad to have 
him on my advice." 

Well, the young man did laugh, I know, but he told us quite 
polite that Mr. Brierly was not dangerous, and that the old gentle- 
man would employ him. 

Then we went home; but I wouldn't go through with it again for 
millions, and every night since I've dreamt of him, with his poor 
pink eyelids and his white cheeks, and that awful wound on his 
head, and I'll never go to a play to suffer so again in all my life ! 



AND RECITATIONS. 



59 



MRS. SLOWLY AT THE HOTEL. 

*\7 0, never, never will I live at a hotel again; not unless I come 
to my dotage. It's the awfulest thing I ever had to do; and 
it's a marsy that I ain't shot dead and murdered for it this blessed 
minute. 

The cappen had business that kept him out last night, and Min- 
ervy went to bed airly, and arter she had gone I felt an awful ache, 
and felt sure I was goin' to have the cholery. Then it come into my 
mindhow't old Doctor Puffer used to say, " Cholery and brandy don't 
agree together. In times of cholery always have your brandy bottle 
handy." And it struck me that I'd go clown and get a glass with 
some hot water before it wus too late. So I took a goblet, and went 
out and along all them windings and meanderin's, and staircases and 
entrys and halls, until I come to a waiter. 

Then I says to him — speakin' as polite as I could — for, black or 
not, them that deserves it should so be spoke to — says I, "If you 
please, young man, couldn't you get me some brandy and water? 
Not that I'm in the habit of drinkin', which goodness forbid in any 
female, much less me; but I feel as if I wus agoin' to be took with 
cholery, and an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure." 

Says he, " I'll get it in a minute, mum." 

And off he went, and back he come, flourishin' his hand, and 
bowin' when he gave it to me as polite as if he wus as white as 
chalk. 

So I took the brandy and water, and away I went up to my room, 
as I thought, and I went in. Brussels carpet and white shades and 
marble-topped bureau and all. So I sot down the brandy and 
water, and went to the bed to get my night-cap from under the 
pillow, when, goody gracious ! what should I se^ there but a man's 
face, bound up and snorin' horrid. There wus his things, too, a 
hangin' on the headboard, and I knowed in a minute I must have 
got into the wrong room ! 

I e'en a'most screeched, and up I caught my brandy and water 
and out I went and tried the next door. 



60 



WERNER'S READINGS 



That wus open, too, and now I felt sure I'd got right, when a 
woman's voice hollers : 
" Who's there ?" 

. Says I, " It's only me." And away I went again, beginnin' to 
feel as skeery as if I wus in a church-yard. 

There wus numbers on all the horrid doors, and I remembered 
there wus a three in mine. So when I saw 33 on one I said: 

ff I'm arrived at last," and in I poked. 

There wus carpet and bureau and bed just alike. But I hadn't 
more than crossed the sill when somebody yells, "Murder! 
thieves!" And though it was darkish, I saw a man sittin' up in 
bed pointin' a pistol at me. 

"Oh, don't shoot!" says I. "It's only me." And out I rushed, 
and I heerd the critter get up and bolt the door, and swear 
horrid. 

I had to take a little sup of brandy to keep me from droppin' 
after that, and I says to myself : 

" Is it your fate, Sarah Slowly, to be took for a burglar, and shot 
dead arter all ? Is this your end ?" And I went on lookin' by the 
gas-light for numbers with three's in 'em. 

Every door I shook or opened, and every one wus wrong; and at 
last I sat down on the foot of the stairs, and cried like the babes in 
the wood, and them poor little critters couldn't have felt worse than 
I did. I knew I wus on our floor, because there wus a big scratch 
on the banisters that Sam made goin 1 down one day with his um- 
brella that happened to be broke, and that he very nearly put into 
my eye. 

So it seemed to me as if I would be bewitched, and there I sot 
and cried until a man in a white coat came along, and says he : 
" May I ask what is the matter, ma'am ?" 

Says I, " You may, for it's time somebody asked. I'm Mrs. 
Slowly, from the country, an old lady as you see, and not used to 
city ways, and I've been down to get some brandy and water; not 
that I'm fond of it, but that I felt sure that I wus gettin' the chol- 
ery; and I've lost my way, and here I be. And here I may perish 
before mornin', for find my way I can't." 



AND RECITATIONS. 



61 



"But, dear me, why didn't you ring for the waiter, ma'am ?" says 
the man. 

Says I, " I'm a plain body, and never wus brought up to take airs 
and ring servants about, but now I wish I had, I do declare, for I 
am lost as much as if I wus in the woods. All I know is, my room 
has a three in the number on the door." 

He laughed. 

"We'll find your room, ma'am," says he. "Come on, if you 
please. Now is this it — twenty- three ?" 

" No," says I. " There I remember I made the first mistake and 
went in, where there is a person, not to say a man, a-bed, and snorin' 
sound." 

" Ah," says he. " Now thirty-three ?" 

But I knew it warn't. However, he knocked. 

Somebody came to the door. 

" We are lookin' for this lady's room," says he. " Mrs. ?" 

" Mrs. Cappen Slowly," says I. 
" This is mine," says a voice. 
So we went on to the next door. 

" Somebody is tryin* to break ,in, John," says a woman. 

" I've got a loaded pistol under my pillow," says what I did sup- 
pose to be her husband. " So whoever is there beware." 

"What a coward!" says the kind gentleman, knockin' at the 
next. But it wus the same old story — they hollered and screeched 
and swore, and none of the rooms wus mine. 

" I'll call a waiter, ma'am," says the gentleman. 

So up came one arter he had rung, and looks at me standin' with 
my tumbler of brandy and water, and grins. 

"Can't find your room, ma'am?" says he. "Why it's twenty- 
three." 

"My!" says I. "In there I have been, and found a person 
snorin'." 

" I'm certain sure, ma'am," says he. 
" No," says I. ?< It isn't that." 

"Then you've mistook the floor," says the gentleman. 

And perhaps I had, so oh* we went and all over the house again, 



62 



WERNER'S READINGS 



everybody swearin' and screaming and offerin' to shoot, and still no 
room for me. 

The waiter and the gentleman looked at each other, and the gen- 
tleman says : 

' 'You must try twenty-three, ma'am." 

Says I, " I did. But if you don't believe me, there's a man in 
there a-bed snorin'." 

So the gentleman pulled open the door, and the snores came out 
like a patent coffee-mill a-grindin'. 

" You are right, ma'am," says the gentleman. " Waiter, go and 
find out directly what this lady's number really is." 

So away he went, and back he comes. 

" Cappen and Mrs. Slowly's room is number twenty-three," says 
he. 

" Then," says the gentleman, " some stranger has gone in by ac- 
cident or design. We must have him out." 

" Oh, if he is a robber and a desperado he may shoot you "both," 
says I. 

" So he may. Better call the landlord," says the waiter. 

And off he went, and back he- 'es*ae with the landlord and an- 
other gentleman, and we told 'em what it wus. 

"Some gentleman who has been drinkin' more than wus good 
for him I suppose," says the landlord, and in he walked. 

" Come," says he, "you've made a mistake, sir. This is a lady's 
room." 

The man only snored. Then he shook him. All of a sudden out 
he bounded and made at us. I ran and screamed. So did the 
rest. Then the man held the door ajar and peeped out. 

" What ails ye all, you lubbers ?" he hollers. " Is the house 
a-fire, or what do you rouse a man out of his berth for in the mid- 
dle watch ?" 

" I beg your pardon," says the landlord; "there's a little mistake. 
This is Cappen Slowly's room." 

" I know it," says the man, " and that's why Cappen Slowly is 
here." 

u La !" says I, "if it ain't the cappen come home unbeknownt 



AND RECITATIONS. 



63 



to me. And it was him in bed all the while and not a stranger/* 
And so it wus, and twenty-three wus my room, after all. 

The landlord and the gentleman and the waiter wus all po- 
lite, but they laughed, notwithstanding. And Tin ashamed to show 
my face, for the cappen says they'll lay it all to the brandy and 
water, of which I only took one swallow,, and spilt the rest, or my 
name ain't Sarah Ann Slowly. 



THE TRAGEDY AT DODD'S PLACE. 

T_TE came into the store with a face full of misery, and sat down 
upon a box "beside the stove and began to cry. It was a queer 
thing for a man like that to do — a great, rough laborer fifty years 
of age. Some dreadful trouble must have come upon him to make 
him show his sorrow in that way. The strangers stared sympa- 
thetically. After awhile the proprietor of the store said : 

" Well, neighbor, you seem to be in trouble ; can we help you 
any?" 

The man did not look up ; he shook his head and said : 
" No, no, no. It's very kind of you, but nobody can help me. 
I suppose you think I'm an old fool ; but she was all the family I 
had, and she's dead ; " and a great tear splashed down upon the 
floor. 

" She's dead. You can't do me any good now ; but if you'd 
come around to my little shanty there about nine o'clock last night 
you might have done some good, I dunno. When a man is deter- 
mined to make a brute of himself he'll do it, perhaps ; but if 
there'd been some one there to say, i Dodd, what on airth are you 
about?' why, mebbe — I dunno, though, I was mad. When a man's 
mad and has had a glass too much, what's the use of talking to 
him? It's fixed things for me. Anyway — Lord forgive me ! she's 
dead." 

The tears splashed down again ; but the people looked at him 
with faces that had lost a little sympathy. 

"You didn't, didn't do anything to bring it on, whatever it was?" 



64 



WERNER'S READINGS 



said an old lady with a large basket on her arm. " I shouldn't 
have thought it of you." 

" Yes, I did, I did," sobbed the man. " If it hadn't been for 
me it never would have happened. I loved her too. Yes, I did 
love her. Nobody could say she'd ever had a hard word from me 
before in all the days we'd lived together ; but last night I'd had a 
glass too much, and I stopped at the butcher's down in the village 
and bought a bit of steak — a man wants a change from pork once 
in a way — and she was fond of steak, she was ; and I jest fetched 
it in and said to her : ' We'll have a supper to-night, eh ? ' and she 
sort of nodded and winked at me, jest as jolly, and then I went 
out to the well to draw water, and, as a body does sometimes when 
a body is in a hurry, I lost the bucket off, and I was a terrible time 
finding it, and when I went in — well, you see, I went in with, an 
appetite — and there she sat, and — well, I ain't dainty, but I couldn't 
have touched that steak to save me. I got madder than I ever 
was before, and I jest around and gave her a kick. Yes, I, did. If 
I was to be hung for it to-morrow I'd have to own up. I kicked her." 

"You brute !" said the woman with the basket ; " kicked her 
because your steak didn't suit you ! Well may you cry." 

", Yes'm," said the man. " You can't speak harder to me than I 
ieel to myself. ' I kicked her in the side, and what is more, I 
opened the door and I kicked her out of it, and then I jest sat down 
alongside my fire and talked the worst kind to myself— I did in- 
deed; and I said I'd never let her in again. Yes'm, you can look 
as you like at me ; I deserve it ; and then I went to bed." 

" Went to bed and left her out in the cold ? " said the old lady. 
" Never seeing whether she was dead or not ?" 

" Yes, I did, and more than that, I went to sleep. I slept sound, 
too ; and what do you suppose waked me ? Why, her voice — I 
knew it from a thousand. It was the awfulest shriek, and then 
another, and then another, and it came all over me what I'd done. 
I'd turned her that had slept alongside of me winter nights more 
years than I could remember, out into the cold night. I'd kicked 
her out. Oh, I was sober then, I tell you. I saw what a brute I 
was, to do a thing like that, all for a bit of paltry steak, and I got 



AND RECITATIONS. 



05 



up and I went to the door and I called, but she didn't come. I 
called again, and then I heard her scream, bnt lainter and farther 
off ; and then I felt a kind of horror coming over me, and I dressed 
myself and took my lantern and went out. I walked this way and 
that. I looked and I called. I swung the lantern low and I held 
it high. There wasn't a sign of her ; and at last I got down to 
Bolter's pond, there by the edge of the woods, you know, and I 
heard a kind of growling ; and past me, all in a hurry, as they go 
when they've been doing mischief, flew those dogs of Bolter's — 
fierce devils ! but they knew enough to be afraid of me then. 

" And when I saw them my heart stood, still, and I swung the 
lantern low again, and I saw her. She lay alongside the pond, and 
her gray hair was dabbled in blood, and the marks of the dogs' 
teeth were on her neck ; and I jest took her up in my arms and 
carried her along the road home and brought her to the fire, and 
there I cried over her and called her all the pet names I used to 
call her when I first had her a little young thing ; but it wasn't 
any use — she was jest stilf and cold, and I laid her down on the 
bed, and there she's laid ever since. Oh, it's dreadful !" 

" Yes, and you deserve to be hung," said the old lady; "but 
now suppose she isn't dead, and maybe she isn't. Let us go over 
with you, and stop and fetch the doctor. Folks have been brought 
to that seemed dead." 

" Well, I'll do it," said the man ; " but it's no use, I know." 

Then the proprietor of the store called his wife to wait on it, 
and he headed a procession of his customers, and they all went to 
Dodd's cabin, calling on the doctor as they passed his house, and 
taking him with them. When they came to the house no one cared 
to be the first to go in ; but at last the doctor, as being best used 
to such things, opened the door. It was a mean little room, fur- 
nished only with a table, two chairs, some shelves and a bed, and 
on this bed sat an old gray cat washing her face. 

As soon as Dodd's eyes rested on this animal he uttered a cry of 
joy and flew to her side ; but she at once set up her back and 
uttered a loud miaoui, while her tail swelled to immense propor- 
tions. 



66 



WERNERS READINGS 



" Oh, I don't mind, I don't mind/' said Dodd. " I deserve you 
should be mad at me ; anything, anything, so as you're alive. 
She's come to life again. Glory, glory, glory !" 

" Why, you don't mean to say yon were talking about a cat all 
the while?" screamed the woman with the basket. " You said she 
didn't cook your meat properly, and — " 

" No'm," said Dodd. " I meant to say she ate most of it up for 
me, and tore and chawed what she didn't eat ; but she's welcome. 
So that she's alive, I don't care. Oh, make up, Pussy ; your own 
old Dodd will never do it any more." 



MRS. SMITH IMPROVES HER MIND. 



T TRIED to improve my mind one afternoon. I resolved I'd have 
opinions on all subjects; so, as washing, ironing, and baking 
were done for the week, and the children out for a walk with the 
nurse-girl, I took "Squashem on the Human Mind" from a shelf, 
and sat down in the corner. I chose him rather than " Snooks on 
Evolution " because he wasn't so thick; but the words were very 
long, and I'd never heard most of them before, and he wrote as if 
I'd contradicted him and he wouldn't put up with it; but I perse- 
vered. I read one paragraph over three times. It must have been 
about something, but I couldn't tell what. It seemed as if the man 
was doing his best to bother people; but I read the paragraph over 
again, and then I felt that if I read a little more I might get some 
notion about it, and that perhaps it meant — I don't know what. 
It sounded very improving. If I couldn't understand it, perhaps I 
could learn it off and say it when people were quoting out of other 
reason books. One doesn't like to seem stupid. I studied five min- 
utes, then up came Anna Maria, the cook : 

" Please'm," she said, " there's a gentleman at the door selling 
soap,and I think you ought to buy some, 'cause he hasn't got no legs." 

The plea was unanswerable. I bought the soap, and having re- 
covered from the qualms excited by the spectacle of the soap mer- 
chant, took up my book again. I read a little more, and was obliged 



AND RECITATIONS. 



67 



to put cologne on my handkerchief. I felt like one going mad. 
Did he mean anything, or was I [a fool ? However, I went back to 
my first principles and studied by rote, rocking backward and for- 
ward, and beating my breast, as I used to do at school ; but this 
time it was Martha who came up stairs to tell me that the coal 
would be out to-morrow, and the stationary tubs were leaking, and 
that the range wanted new bars, and she'd like to have an afternoon 
out if I could spare her. 

I spared her. Then I went at my book again. Lights flashed 
before my eyes. I came to words I didn't understand, and looked 
for them in the dictionary, and they were not there. I wondered 
whether, if the man really were trying to teach people to reason, 
he could not make the thought plainer to them, and whether he 
wasn't only showing off. Sometimes I thought he might not know 
what he meant himself. But I studied away, and at intervals cook 
came to tell me it was like Martha's impudence to go out and leave 
her, and an agent came to get me to subscribe to a new biography 
of somebody, and an unknown man called who said he remembered 
me in my infancy, and wanted fifty cents to go to his home with, 
and Miss Samanthy Tuttle came to spend the afternoon, and I put 
the reason book away. But at breakfast time next morning I re- 
membered what I had learnt, and I felt that I'd like to show Mr. 
Smith that I had as much mind as that Miss Splash he talks so 
much about; so I just said: 

"Mr. Smith, it is not the embodiment of the aggregation that 
most affects the conglomerate exhumation of thought in entity so 
much as the carbonation of sudorific petrefaction through which the 
molecules of prescience fail to precipitate themselves even amidst 
the sporadic growth of entirety." 

I'm sure I got it right; but Mr. Smith jumped up, rushed across 
the room, cried out: "Augusta, my dear, do you know me?" and 
sent for the family doctor. 

Then I had to explain. Since then I've left off trying to improve 
my mind — in that way. With so many interruptions as I have, 
books that are Chinese puzzles for the mind had better be let alone. 
Only, I don't think it's right to write 'em; do you ? 



08 



WERNERS READINGS 



PAYING HER FARE. 

T~\ RIVER peeping through his little window and addressing a 
stout lady passenger : "Fare, ma'am." 
Stout Lady — " I've paid." 
Driver — " You haven't." 
Stout Lady — " You tell a story. I have." 
Driver — "You haven't." 

The horses becoming restive, the driver turns his attention to 
them; flicks half-a-dozen boys off the platform with his whip, stops 
for a furious passenger who has been chasing the car for a block, 
and returns to the charge. 

"I want your fare, ma'am." 

New Passenger — "Mine? Why you ought to be ashamed of 
yourself! I have paid." 

Driver — "I know you have. That other old lady's." 
New Passenger — " Old lady — well !" 

Driver — " The old lady with the big shawl. You know (looking 
at the stout lady) who I mean well enough. Pay your fare, ma'am." 

Stout Lady — "I tell you I have. This here lady saw me pay it" 
— pointing to a timid young person in the corner. 

Timid Young Person — "Yes, Mr. Driver, if you please, I think 
I saw this lady go up to the box — if it wasn't some other lady, and 
I'm not mistaken." 

Stout Lady — "No, it was me. There now." 

Driver — " There wasn't a cent in the box. I'd jest shook it 
down. I'm not going to pay your fares out of my jacket. Here, 
pay up." 

Stout Lady (appealing to passengers generally) — "It a'n't the 
vally of the money; it a'n't the worth of five cents; it's the 
frinciidle. I a'n't goin' to pay twice." 

Chorus of Passengers — "No, don't you do it. It's a matter of 
principle." 

Polite French Gentleman in the corner — "Till 1 madame 
permit me ?" 



RECITATIONS. 69 
Stout Lady— " JVo, I won't." 

French gentleman spreads his hands and shrugs his shoulders. 
The driver, after performing his multitudinous duties for a while, 
becoming entangled with a cross-car, and holding single combat 
with an intoxicated man who desires to enter the conveyance, ap- 
pears again at his little window and says: 

" Look here, ma'am, I've seen this dodge before. Pretty soon 
you'll be getting down. You're keeping it up. to beat me out o' a 
ride. Now put your fare in that box, or I'll stop the car and set 
you off." 

French Gentleman (to driver) — "If I might be allow, I shall 
say von vord." 

Driver — "You open your mouth if you dare. Pay up, ma'am." 
Stout Lady — " I've paid once, and all the wild animals in the 
menagerie couldn't tear it out of me again, nor get me off this car." 
Passengers greatly affected. 

Spokesman — " Ah, ma'am, if all had your spirit things would be 
different very soon." 

Stout Lady — "It's a plan and a plot, as well I know, to take in 
double fares from us poor critters. I hev heerd that the drivers that 
brings in double fares gets a present." 

Spokesman — " To be sure ; that explains it all. I've got the clew 
now." 

Serious Passenger — "We'll uphold you in your righteous 
course, ma'am." 

French Gentleman — " Zere is von leetle explaynayceong." 

No one takes any notice of him. Car stops. Enter driver. Old 
lady turns pale. Passengers double up their fists. 

Driver — "Now pay up." 

Stout Lady — " I have." 

French Gentleman (starting to his feet) — " Ah, zis rendairs it 
to becom necessaire. Zere is von grand mistake." 
Driver — " You'll find it one if you interfere." 
French Gentleman (wildly) — "But, madame! Behold! 'Viz 
i your admirable goodsens you vill comprehend." 
Stout Lady — "I don't understand Dutch." 



70 WERNERS READINGS 

French Gentleman — "But behold in ze graceful elevacions of 
ze robe of madame* ze five sens." 

All follow the direction of his finger. The fare under discussion 
is seen lying in a fold of the stout lady's overskirt." 

Stout Lady — "La! I must have dropped it there when I went 
to put it in the box." 

Driver — " Passle of fools!" 

Passengers (to French gentleman) — " Why couldn't you speak 
before giving this lady all this trouble ?" 



SCENE IN A STREET CAR. 



T ATE afternoon. Oar full of business men going home. Enter 
lady with numerous parcels bearing the stamp of prominent 
dry-goods establishments. Polite gentleman rises and waves his 
hand toward his vacated seat. Enter second lady with more shop- 
ping parcels. 

First lady — "Why, Mrs. Clump, is that you? Sit right down." 
Mrs. Clump — "Oh, Mrs. Bump! To think of meeting you. 
You sit down." 
Tumbles into old gentleman's arms. 

Mrs. Bump — " I couldn't think of it. You take the seat." 

Mrs. Clump seats herself and says: 

"Thank you, Mrs. Bump." 

Second gentleman rises. Mrs. Bump says: 

"Oh, thank you!" treads on polite gentleman's corns, knocks 
oft' another gentleman's hat, and seats herself. 

A lady passenger rises to leave the car. Mrs. Clump exclaims: 
" Thank goodness, a place for my bundles!" and deposits them 
on the seat. A lady on the other side rises. Mrs. Bump cries, 
"How lucky! a place for mine, too!" and arranges her bundles, 
While a gouty old gentleman glares at the parcels, and a lame 
young man clings to the strap and sighs. 



AND RECITA1U0NS. 

■ 



71 



REBECCA'S REVENGE. 

C AMANTHY PRICE and Rebecca Jane Judd was real close and 
^ pertickeler friends fur a considerabul length o' time, and I 
suppose they kinder expected they allers would be; but nobody 
kin foretell events with any certainty, even if you pay 'em twenty- 
five cents fur doin' on't, as I was fool enough to do once, and heerd 
I was to hev two husbands and ride in my coach ; and the first 
hasn't come yet, though there's no tellin' what might happen; fur 
there was Peggy Barker, got to be thirty without thinkin' of hevin' 
nobody, and then had three. But Samanthy and Rebecca was what 
I was a-talkin' of. They was real friends until Peleg Worthington 
came along and kinder courted 'em alternate. Fur a while he ran 
arter Rebecca, and fur a while be ran arter Samanthy, and then he 
sot down and kept steady company with Rebecca, and then he 
broke flat off and kept steady company with Samanthy. 

That ended it. The two hadn't treated each other well, but, as 
Rebecca said, after Peleg had been her company, no friend would 
have encouraged him. 

This time the affair was settled, and the two used to go walkin' 
with their arms about each other's waists, right past Rebecca's 
window, and she got aggravated. It was nat'ral she should. 

She said everythin' she could lay her tongue to against Saman- 
thy, but Samanthy could do the same by her; and then she told 
everybody all about Peleg, and she thought and thought what she 
could do to spite 'em, and she couldn't think of anything, until one 
night she remembered that Samanthy was awfully afraid of ghosts, 
and made up her mind to hide in the lane, outside the back gar- 
den; and when Peleg had gone off, pop up and scare Samanthy. 
Perhaps she wanted to frighten her to death. Jealousy is an awful 
thing, I'm told. Not that I've ever experienced anythin' of that 
natur'. 

Anyway Rebecca wanted to frighten Samanthy as much as she 
could, and she took one of her ma's best sheets and made it into 
most an awful-looking wrap, and sewed black calico on fur eyes, 



72 



WERNER'S READINGS 



nose, and month, and cut a couple of holes to look through, and 
waited until night. At half-past nine she went out o' the house 
with her bundle, and hid in the bushes. But she waited quite a 
spell, and when they did come out they aggravated her more by 
walkin' up and down kissin.' 

She'd got on her fixin's by this time, and she was most an awful 
object, and she was gettin' pretty stiff squattin' there in the damp. 
When Peleg did go away at last she was rather anxious to get 
through hauntin' Samanthy; and she popped up all of a sudden 
and tumbled down again. However, Samanthy hadn't seen her. 
She stood still, lookin' sentimental arter Peleg; and Rebecca, hevin' 
got her feet out of tangle, stalked round awful solemn, and stood 
starin' at Samanthy and pintin' at her in an awful manner. 

Now Samanthy was afraid of ghosts, and ef this had been quite 
unexpected she'd hev flopped down on the ground half dead, and 
mebbe really expired on't; but jest a minute before, she'd looked 
around, and she'd seen Eebecca scramblin' up. She knew Rebecca's 
stockin's and shoes as well as she did her own ; so she guessed in a 
minute what it meant, and 'stead o' faintin' or havin' a fit she called 
out: 

"Peleg Worthington! Peleg Worthington! Here's somebody up 
to mischief." And back flew Peleg. 

Now Rebecca was scared 'stead of Samanthy. Off she started 
across a lield, and after her came Peleg. He thought it was some 
boy, and Samanthy stood laughin' to see the ghost pick up its 
skirts and run. 

Rebecca was a good runner, and she hoped to get out of sight 
long enough to hide somewhere; but she'd forgot where she was, 
and all of a sudden somethin' happened, she didn't know what at 
first. Down she went into what seemed to her the bowels of the 
airth. 'T wasn't, though. She'd forgot that there was a tan yard 
not far off, and that one of the vats was here. That was what she 
fell into, and she'd e'en a'most rather hev stayed there than to 
hev Peleof fetch a ladder and fish her out, as he did. He was very 
polite. Said ef he'd knowed 'twas only a little bit of fun he 
wouldn't hev run so hard, and hadn't no idee 'twas a lady. But 



AND RECITATIONS. 



73 



Samanthy took the ghost dress off and kept it. She wiped poor 
Rebecca dry, and lent her an old gown to go home in. But she 
kept that ghost rig, and hung it out on the lines " to dry," she said, 
fur several days. It was awfully stained, but there was one white 
place left, and on that was marked " R. J. Judd," as plain as 
print. Rebecca had left the marked corner of the sheet in. 

As for poor Rebecca, she was awfully stained, a kinder red-brown 
color in spots, and she didn't come to her right complexion fur 
three weeks, so they said; anyway she didn't show herself fur that 
time. Seems to me she met with a kind of a jedgment; though 
you couldn't blame her fur get tin* riled, could you? And now, Mrs. 
Brown, will you hev your little boy's pants long or knicker- 
bockers? 



HER FIRST STEAM-ENGINE. 



T "WAS a-walking along, comfortable and quiet, with a jar of jelly 
for poor sick Mrs. Spruce, and I was feeling real good, too, 
for the hay was in and butter had sold well; and I'd picked a big 
bunch of pennyroyal, and was wondering whether the long-iron rods 
I saw were the railroad the men-folks talked so much about — for I 
hadn't been over that way since they fixed it — when, all of a sud- 
den I heard a shriek, and then another, and I looked up, and there 
I saw skirring along full split toward me the most awful thing/ 
It was as big as ten elephants, and had a great pair of fiery eyes, 
and a long tongue, and it was as black as ink. And while I was a 
wondering what it could be, it snorted fire at me, and shrieked 
again. 

1 And then I felt to know 'twas Satan come after me for my sins. 
And I shrieked, too, and I went down on my knees and^prayed to 
be spared — spared for improvement! And something grabbed me. 
And I said, " Don't take me! don't take me \ " for I thought it 
was him. But when I looked up, it was only a smoky looking 
kind of man, with a flag in his hand, and he held me tight an^ 



74 



WERNER'S READINGS 



pushed me over the irons,, and said he: ei Old lady, you came about 
as nigh being run over as you ever will, and miss it !" 
And said I, " I'm spared ?" 

" Thanks to me, yes," said he. " Don't you ever walk along a 
track again when a train of cars is coming." 

Then I began to know. " Was that a steam-engine?" I asked. 
And he laughed so that I didn't tell him I thought it was Satan. 
But I told my husband when I got home; and I've always reckoned 
the Evil One must look more like that than anything else ever 
since. 



HEN Jabez Chow came courtin' Corianna Dowly, Granther 



Peeks was jest as mad as hops. You see, Corianna she 
had kep' house fur granther quite a spell, and he didn't want to 
spare her, she made such nice griddle-cakes. He was very fond of 
griddle-cakes. He hadn't teeth to eat nothin' hard, and she made 
'em fur him fur breakfast, dinner, and supper. So, when Jabez 
purposed and Corianna accepted him, granther said "No," and 
said he'd cuss her ef she disobeyed him. 

Now, Corianna could have done what she was a minter fur all 
Granther Peeks; fur she was risen thirty. But she was a pious 
gal, and she felt as ef her granther's cuss would sort o' blight her; 
so she told Jabez she couldn't marry him nohow until granther 
either died or give in, only she wasn't able to help herself from 
meetin' him after granther had gone to bed — jest where the punkin 
patch j'ined outer the blueberry medder, and the old popler grew. 
Well, some mean sneak went and told granther about it, and he 
follered her one night, and found 'em kissin'; and when he seen 
that, he jest up and cussed her and drove her home with his stick. 
Corianna was sobbin' as ef her heart would break. 

"You cussed me, granther," she kep' a-sayin'; "and now it 
don't make no matter what I do. Seem' I'm cussed, I'll jest marry 
Jabez any way." 



CORIANNA'S WEDDING. 




AND RECITATIONS. 



75 



Well, Granther Peeks he felt he'd made a mistake, and he 
kinder coaxed her up, and said he'd take the cuss back. But when 
she waked up next day, meanin' to run away and marry Jabez, she 
found granther had been before her. He'd nailed, and locked, 
and barred the whole house up as ef it was a prison, and lef jest a 
little hole in the kitchen shutter fur her to see to cook by. The 
front door he kept the key of in his pocket. 

"T guess we won't have any more meetin's by moonlight, my 
dear," says he, sardonic as ever could be. " When stores is needed 
I'll go oat, and you've got a pump in the kitchen." 

" You don't mean to lock me up this way fur good, granther?" 
says Oorianna. " I shall die of want of air. So will you." 

" I guess 1 kin stand it," says granther. " When you want fresh 
air you kin stick your head out of that there appychure in the shut- 
ter; and to-day I want pancakes with rawsberry jam into 'em and 
lots of coffee. I worked real hard last night puttin' up them fas- 
tening and I want stren'thenin'. She jest looked at him when he 
said that; she didn't durst trust herself to say nothin'. 

"Don't goggle at me, Corianna. It's worse than sassin'." 

So while she was a-fryin' the cakes, she kep' sayin' over and 
over to herself, " Now I lay me," and " Twinkle, twinkle, little 
star," to keep back her wickedness. She'd slaved fur that old 
man and she'd been fond of him, and this is what had come of it. 
She told us all this through the hole in the shutter. We got 
kinder scared, you know, seein' the house shet up, and went to 
call, but didn't get let in; but arter awhile, when we'd knocked 
and knocked a spell to the front door and the side door, we 
went round to the back, and there was poor Corianna's face 
a-stickin' out of the hole in the shutter. The tears rolled down her 
cheeks as she told the story, and We had to cry too. Maria Brown, 
she was jest proposin' breakin' down the door and carryin' poor 
Corianna off, when a upstairs shutter opened and Granther Peeks 
poked his head out. 

'* See here, folkses," said he, " a man has a right to keep his house 
shet or open as he pleases, and to order his wimmin folks as he sees 
fittin'. You tech bolt, or bar, or lock, or hook, on my premises, 



76 



WERNER'S READINGS 



and I'll shoot you down fust and have you took up fur burglars 
afterward, and I'd hev the law on my side, tu." Then he showed 
us a big boss pistol- and says he, "It's loaded/' and we scattered. 
But I wrote on a piece of paper, " I'll tell Jabez," and gave it up 
to Corianna, pretendin' to kiss her good-bye. And never was I so 
thankful that I oilers carried a pencil for new recipes. I kep' my 
promise, and that night Jabez pranced about the house, but 
couldn't get a peep at her. No more he couldn't fur a couple of 
days. But at last he thought of tootin' through a fish horn. If 
there was anythin' Granther Peeks liked, it was fish. So he says 
to Corianna: " Peek out, Corry, and see ef that's shad; shad's 1 in 
season." 

So Corry poked her head out of the hole and saw Jabez bio win' 
the horn, and as soon as he saw her he up and kissed her at the 
shutter hole. 

"Keep up courage, Corianna; this thing can't last long." 

"I sha'n't," says Corianna. "Granther says the law can't make 
a man open his doors, and I don't reckon it can ; and nobody has a 
right to demand my freedom, as fur as I know." 

" Your husband would." 

" I ain't got none." 

" Have one." 

(i How be I to go to my weddin' ?" 

" Let your weddin' come to you." 

"Corry, how's the fish ?" says granther from inside. 

"It isn't shad," says Corry, "and I guess it's stale." 

" Oh," says granther, " don't buy none ef it's stale !" 

"1 sha'n't," says Corry; " I'll look keerful." 

Out o' the winder she sticks her head again. 

"When your granther is at tea, Corianna," says Jabez, ''you 
come to the hole. Things will be fixed all right after that. Keep 
up your sperits." 

" How's the fish ?" asks granther. 

"Awful!" says Corianna, givin' Jabez a kiss and drawin' her 
head in. 

She felt lots happier, fur she had confidence in Jabez, though 



AND RECITATIONS. 



77 



she didn't know how he was goin' to fix it. That evenin' she came 
down to tea all dressed up, and she made Granther Peeks a lovely 
lot of cakes and an omelet, and he sat down to table with a crash 
towel under his chin, and began to eat as ef he hadn't had anythin' 
fur a fortnight; and as soon as he did so Corianna began to fan 
herself with a big palm-leaf fan that oilers stood behind the lamp, 
and says she: 

" Oh, fur a breath of air. I've got to have a breath of air or 
choke !" 

" You kin git it at the hole in the winder, then/ 5 says Granther 
Peeks. " You know my reggylations." 

Then Corianna she flew to the hole and she poked her head out, 
and there she saw a sight ! Close against the house stood Jabez 
Chow, with white gloves and a white tie onto him; and behind 
him was his brother, Plummer Chow, ditto; and t'other side was 
Sally Post, all rigged up in white, with a bouquet, for bride-maid; 
and between them was Dominie Chalmers, that had baptized her; 
and next him was Dominie Brown, and all over the garden was 
scattered the fust residents of the village, and all the little boys 
and gals was perched on the fences; and the man with melons had 
stopped his cart to see the spectacle, and there was Squire Peeler, 
Justice of the Peace, perched on top of the wood-shed — <e A-wait- 
in' my turn fur to act in this here case, ladies and gentlemen," 
he says, in them there commandin' tones of his'n. 

Well, when Corianna saw all this she turned fust red and then 
white. We ladies kissed our hands to her, and the jedge atop the 
wood-shed he h'isted his hat. The rest of the men took off theirs, 
and the dominie he lifted up his hand, and commenced to talk jest 
as ef he was in meetin'. When he came to askin' whether there 
was any one present that could give a reason why that there cere- 
mony shouldn't perceed, he waited quite a spell; but nobody an- 
swered but the jedge, who remarked: "Go ahead, dominie !' 5 
Then the dominie went ahead, and all went on quite reg'lar, ex- 
cep' when Corianna disappeared quite sudden because Granther 
Peeks bellered fur more honey, and once when she had to fry him 
another cake to top off with. 



78 



WERNER'S READINGS 



However, the dominie got her married all safe, ring on and all, 
and writ out a certificate, and the witnesses signed it, and Jabez 
kissed her, and so did the bride-maid; and then the squire came 
down off the wood-shed and went round to the front door, and 
battered onto the panels and rung the bell until Granther Peeks 
stuck his head out of the winder, and says he : 

" How de do, jedge?" 

" Fair to middling" says the jedge. " Why don't you open your 
door, Mr. Peeks?" 

" I ain't openin' no doors jest now." 

"Guess you've got to," says the jedge. "There's a man says 
you've got his wife shet up there." 

"I ain't ! There ain't nobody here but Corianna; she's a spinster 
and my gran'darter." 

" Mr. Chow, you jest step here," says the jedge. 

So Jabez comes around the house. 

" Demand your wife." 

"Well, Pm here, Mr. Peeks, for that purpose. You've got my 
wife, Mrs. Jabez Chow, in there, and I want her," says Jabez. 
"Your wife?" says granther, grinnin'. 
" Yes, sir," says the dominie; " I've jest married 'em." 
" I assisted," says Dominie Brown. 
"Will the witnesses come forward?" says the jedge. 
Then we all trooped arOund the house. 

" You see, granther," says Jabez, " Cupid don't need doors to get 
in it ef there's ever so little a hole in a shutter." 

Jest then Corianna went up to granther and showed him her 
ring and her certificate, and that settled it. 

In a minute more he opened the door and we walked in. He 
was cryin'. 

"0 Jabez, Jabez!" says he, "how could you? Nobody else 
kin make pancakes that I kin digest only Corianna. Now I shall 
starve to death !" 

" No, you sha'n't !" says Jabez. " Can't you board with us ? 
and she kin fry 'em all day, if you want her to and she's so dis* 
posed." 



AND RECITATIONS. 



79 



" Of course I will," says Corianna. 

Then Granther Peeks got out his red pocket-handkercher and 
wiped his eyes. 

"Ef you'd explained that thereto me before, Jabez," says he, 
"I wouldn't hev made no objections; but doin' without Corianna's 
pancakes was a matter of life and death to me, my son." 



NETTIE BUDD BEFORE HER SECOND 

BALL. 



ELL, here I am, all ready for my second ball. If I see you 



correctly in my glass, pale blue becomes you, Nettie Budd, 
and you look very well, though not at all like that picture of 
" Beauty Before Her First Ball " in the Academy of Design. Tho 
idea of calling her " Beauty/' with her poky chin and hard black 
eyes ! Her first ball ? Pshaw! she'd been to twenty, and nobody 
would look at herself over her shoulder like that, except for effect. 
Silly French thing! I'm very much nicer looking. 

I'm nearly eighteen, but this is only my second ball. Mamma 
generally says, " Her dear grandpa does not like balls," when I'm 
asked to one. Why should he? He's seventy-five, and has rheu- 
matism. I wonder whether it is the expense or the effect of that 
other ball of mine, which certainly was not encouraging. 

Dear me, how well I remember all I felt before that affair. I 
had read about a great many " first appearances" at balls, and sup- 
posed I should be treated like a young princess; but I wasn't. 
When I went in nobody took any notice of me but a fat girl, who 
said to her partner: " If /had such thin arms I'd cover 'em up, if 
it was only with lace sleeves." 

There was a seat beside old Mrs. Thomas, and Aunt Peterkin 
told me I'd better sit down, because I should be tired dancing, I 
was so unused to it. I sat down. Aunt Peterkin herself danced 
with a big man with whiskers, and old Mrs. Thomas went to sleep 
and snored. I " rested" until I thought I should go wild! Then 
Dr. Dosem, our family physician, saw me, and said: 




80 



WERNER'S READINGS 



"Come, my dear; let me be your partner. I think this is a 
polka, and — " 

As if anybody danced polkas! 'But I danced with him. We went 
round somehow. My feet never touched the floor; and at last we 
tumbled up into a corner, and he, all out of breath with carrying 
me about, said: 

" Fll get you a younger partner for the next dance. I'm a little 
out of practice, I think." 

Mrs. Mink, a lively, young married lady we know, was close by, 
and she told Mr. Mink to dance with me. He looked as solemn as 
if he had been ordered to instant execution, and said, "I shall be 
delighted," with a face like an iron mask and the sternest counte- 
nance. We danced the lancers. He never spoke a word to me, and 
at the end he took me back to Mrs. Mink in utter silence. Still it 
was a dance. Then Mrs. Mink, who certainly tried to do her best 
for me, introduced me to a young collegian, and he bowed and 
smiled, and said he didn't dance, but if I would promenade a little 
he should be proud to offer me his arm. So we promenaded, and 
the dancers trod on our toes, and the master of ceremonies — I sup- 
pose that was what he was — asked us to go somewhere else; so he 
took me to the refreshment-room for lemonade; and when he was 
trying to get some for me, I heard Dr. Dosem coaxing a great long, 
conceited puppy to dance with me, not knowing I was within hearing. 

" Nice little thing," the doctor said, "just out of school. Now 
do give her a dance; you're a swell, you know; fine dancer, and all 
that It will set her up." 

" Pretty ?" asked my dandy. 

" Not yet; she'll be a fine woman, though," replied my doctor. 

"I hate bread and butter when it's not pretty," remarked my 
dandy; " but I'll dance with her out of pity, to oblige you." 

Afterward, when Aunt Peterkin had found me, and scolded me 
for leaving old Mrs. Thomas — (t my chaperone," she called her — 
the doctor brought up his dandy and told me that he " begged the 
pleasure of the next waltz." 

Who that had any respect for herself could have been danced 
with "out of pity?" 



AND RECITATIONS. 



81 



I said, " Thank you, but I don't want to dance with that gentle 
man. I don't like his looks." 

At this, my dandy grew crimson. My doctor roared. My aunt 
stared at me as if she were going to turn into a pillar of salt, or 
something. And even when I explained in private, she said that 
I could not dance again,' for a lady who had refused one man at a 
ball could not dance with another. It wasn't etiquette. Well, 
nobody asked me, or I'd have seen whether I could or not. And 
after a while I told my aunt I was tired of watching her flirt, and 
that I should think a widow would be ashamed to go on like that; 
and then I went and sat in the dressing-room until three o'clock. 
/ didn't have any supper. Aunt said she didn't know until too 
late. 

Well, it wasn't in the least like the first ball of a princess, was 
it? This is my second. I know how to manage better now. Be- 
sides, that silly young Jack Hacker will get all the dances he can, 
and be miserable when I waltz with any one else, so I think I shall 
be happy and enjoy myself this time. 



A.UNTY DOLEFUL'S VISIT. 



t_r OW do you do, Cornelia ? I heard you were sick, and I 
stepped in to cheer you up a little. My friends often say, 
" It's such a comfort to see you, Aunty Doleful. You have such 
a flow of conversation, and are so lively." Besides, I said to my- 
self, as I catfne up the stairs, "Perhaps it's the last time I'll ever see 
Cornelia Jane alive." 

You don't mean to die yet, eh? Well, now, how do you know? 
You can't tell. You think you are getting better; but there was 
poor Mrs. Jones sitting up, and every one saying how smart she 
was, and all of a sudden she was taken with spasms in the heart, 
and went off like a flash. But you must be careful, and not get 
anxious or excited. Keep quite calm, and don't fret about any- 
thing. Of course, things can't go on just as if you were down- 
stairs; and I wondered whether you knew your little Billy was 



82 



WERNERS READINGS 



sailing about in a tub on the mill-pond, and that your little Sammy 
was letting your little Jimmy down from the veranda roof in a 
clothes-basket. 

Gracious goodness! what's the matter? I guess Providence '11 
take care of 'em. Don't look so. You thought Bridget was watch- 
ing them ? Well, no, she isn't. I saw her talking to a man at the 
gate. He looked to me like a burglar. No doubt she let him take 
the impression of the door-key in wax, and then he'll get in and 
murder you all. There was a family at Kobble Hill all killed last 
week for fifty dollars. Now, don't fidget so; it's bad for the baby. 

Poor little dear! How singular it is, to be sure, that you can't 
tell whether a child is blind, or deaf and dumb, or a cripple at that 
age. It might be all, and you'd never know it. 

Most of them that have their senses make bad use of them 
though; that ought to be your comfort, if it does turn out to have 
anything dreadful the matter with it. And more don't live a year. 
I saw a baby's funeral down the street as I came along. 

How is Mr. Kobble? Well, but finds it warm in towir eh ? Well, 
I should think he would. They are dropping down by hundreds 
there with sun-stroke. You must prepare your mind to have him 
brought home any day. Anyhow, a trip on these railroad trains is 
just risking your life every time you take one. Back and forth 
every day as he is, it's just trifling with danger. 

Dear! dear! now to think what dreadful things hang over us all 
the time ! Dear ! dear ! 

Scarlet-fever has broken out in the village, Cornelia. Little 
Isaac Potter has it, and I saw your Jimmy playing with him last 
Saturday. 

Well, I must be going now. I've got another sick friend ; and I 
sha'n't think my duty done unless I cheer her up a little before I 
sleep. Good -by. How pale you look, Cornelia. I don't believe 
you have a good doctor. Do send him away and try some one else. 
You don't look as well as you did when I came in. But if any- 
thing happens, send for me at once. If I can't do anything else, 
I can cheer you up a little. The Lord be with you, for you'll soon 
be with the Lord. 



AND RECITATIONS. 



83 



THOUGHTS AT A PARTY. 



HE similarity of man is very perplexing. I don't allude to 



the wonderful likeness, anatomically prepared, of man to his 
brother monkey. I am thinking of the full-dress gentleman and 
the full-dress waiter. If some one doesn't put a chalk mark on the 
back of that handsome waiter, whose principal duty seems to be to 
wave his glove at the other waiters, I know Miss Gushington will 
seize him by the arm, under the impression that he is a person of 
distinction to whom she has been introduced, and drag him away 
to dance with her. I should like to warn her, only it would be such 
fun to see her do it. 

The real person of distinction, My Lord Fitz Foodie, from over 
the sea, is standing in the corner there. He has been stricken 
dumb by poor Mr. Spitz, who always makes such dreadful mistakes, 
and who, as the nobleman entered the room looking about him for 
his hostess, cried out to him: "I say, here, waiter, two ices." 

Five minutes afterward, Mr. Spitz, who is slow, said, "Beg 
pardon, Fm sure," to one of the waiters, who did not at all know 
what he meant, and said, " Yes, sir — certainly, sir." 

Now, my lord is glaring indignantly in a corner, with stout Miss 
Sphynx standing on his toes, and his hostess is looking for him. 
She has just bowed to the tall waiter, and thinks she has found 
Fitz Foodie. What will happen now ? Oh, nothing. The waiter 
retires gracefully, gripping lemonade cups in his gloved hands. 

Talking of bowing ! Poor Mr. Bobolink, how mortified he is! 
He has bowed most gracefully to a bust of Pallas upon a pedestal. 
If near-sighted people only would wear glasses ! " Do you suppose 
she means to cut me ?" he asks his friend, in a mortified tone of 
voice. " That fair girl in white ? It's Miss Blanch Blanc ; I should 
know her by her complexion in any company \" 

Horror of horrors! There is Miss Bliss, the poetess, who scorns 
fine dress. Good Miss Pleasem undertook to advise her to sacrifice 
to the graces a little, for so grand an occasion. The result is 
terrific: an orange-colored window-curtain — I think it is a window- 




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curtain — over green grenadine, and a scarlet sash. Has she dropped 
her hair down her back on purpose/ or lost her comb by accident ? 
No one will ever know. 

The lancers! Mr. Spitz is coming to ask me to dance. If only it 
were genteel to call the figures! but it is not. All the men in that 
set are learned, scientific, or literary persons. When the hostess 
has asked them to dance, they have said " Certainly/' and now 
they will stand at their respective posts, each talking of his hobby, 
until despairing partners whisper, " Our turn, please." Then 
they will amble about a little, be dragged back, hit their heads 
together, tear the ladies' dresses, apologize, turn the wrong lady, 
bow to everybody indiscriminately, and become the laughing-stock 
of the young non-dancing men, who know every step and figure per- 
fectly, and are too lazy to do them. A literary and scientific set of 
the lancers is glorious. Here I go. Mr. Spitz always falls down 
with his partner, to.o. 

Mr. Spitz wants to know whether the tall, splendid gentleman in 
side-whiskers is the celebrated Professor Smasher who discovered 
something, or did something wonderful. I say " No," with cer- 
tainty. The person with the dusty coat, who skulked in just now 
as if he came after the spoons, and sits on a low chair behind the 
etagere, may be he; but not this glorious combination of side- 
whisker, white glove, and hot-house button-hole bouquet. 

Now, ivliy does old Mr. Scroggins say to middle-aged Miss Ropes, 
"Our dancing days are over, and it pleases us best to look on now?" 
Does he suppose that that is the way to make himself agreeable at 
an evening party? And, yes — the mistake has happened, just as I 
expected. Miss Gushington is telling that handsome waiter that 
she "hasn't met him since the Charity Ball," and he says, " No, 
ma'am ; certainly not, ma'am ;" just as — " Dear me, Mr. Spitz, I 
hope you are not hurt ?" 

" Oh, no ; not at all." 



AND RECITATIONS. 



85 



SIMON SOLITARY'S IDEAL WIFE. 

T HAVE had ladies say to me, " Mr. Solitary, you really are look- 
ing for perfection, r jind it is hard to find." 

Now, that is not so. I do not expect women to be perfect; men 
are not. But, naturally, I have my ideal, and it is very strange 
that I have not yet found the few little qualities I require com- 
bined in the person of one charming lady. Fll mention my ideas, 
and I am sure you will not find them at all unreasonable; and if 
you know any one such as I describe, you might drop me a line ; 
HI never mention it. Fd like to marry and settle down, for I've 
really been quite wild in my day; and at fifty odd — but no matter. 

I rhould like the lady to be very pretty, very young, extremely 
sensible, and with all the accomplishments. But as to dancing, I 
could not allow her to dance. I don't dance myself. She should 
be a brilliant woman; and when I express an opinion, she should 
at once agree to it. My word should be law to her. At the same 
time, she should be very independent, and not give me any trouble 
waiting on her, unless I felt just like it. 

She should be a splendid cook, and get my dinners herself; but 
she should always appear at table perfectly dressed, and not with a 
flushed face and a blowzy air; I hate that. She should make my 
friends her own, and entertain all my relations ; but she shouldn't 
waut to have her own relatives bothering about. Oh, dear, no! She 
should live for me. 

She should have a perfect temper; and if I said anything hasty, 
as a man has a right to do in his own house, she should not answer 
back and get huffy. She should wait until I get over my pet before 
she speaks. 

I should have all the liberal ideas, and she should never check 
them; tut, as women ought to be pious, I should desire her to be 
deeply so. However, she must not go gadding to church and even- 
ing meetings constantly, or make a tremendous fuss if I should 
occasionally say a swear word. She should know her place too 
well. She should be queen-like to others, and humble to me — sit 



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at my feet and listen to my words of wisdom. She should never 
glance at another man. As for flirting, if she did that, Fd get a 
divorce. No young cousins with mustaches, or "old friends of 
pa's," or any of that nonsense for my wife. But as for my young 
female relations and connections, our home should be their home, 
and she shouldn't listen about to see if I said a polite word to one 
of them. 

It might be best for her to have a little money of her own — 
enough for her dress, and to buy her own tickets if she wanted to 
gad about and hear things. And I should expect her to be eco- 
nomical, for I sha'n't leave her anything if I die first. I have fixed 
my money in the form of an annuity, and the personal property 
would only be hers if she took her Bible oath never to marry again. 

Really, it seems singular to me that I haven't found a girl to suit 
me yet! The fair sex must be deteriorating. However, now that 
people know I'm looking for a wife, and understand what advan- 
tages I offer, no doubt parents will be anxious to introduce me to 
their daughters. I am not " made up " at all like some men of my 
age. / don't dye my hair — I haven't any. 



THE DUTIFULS. 

T T was raining hard. Here was a pretty day for our picnic, that 
picnic to Blooming Grove, which the Dutifuls were to have 
taken, if all had been propitious : The picnic that I wanted to go to 
so very, very much, that I had dreamt of it for four weeks; that I 
had prepared for to an extent that, considering my income, was 
extravagant. Not that I cared so much for the trip in itself, but 
because at this Dutiful picnic — 

Wait! You do not know who the Dutifuls were. 

We were ten young men and ten young women, who had formed 
a society, the motto of which was "Duty before Pleasure." 

We were a charitable society, and were to do good to the poor. 
Whenever any poor people needed us, we were vowed to attend 
them, no matter what pleasant thing we were engaged in. 



AND RECITATIONS. 



8? 



The gentlemen, of course, were exempt, during business hours, 
for business was duty, but the command of a parent was the only 
excuse for the young ladies. 

We tried many names, but finally settled down on " The Duti- 
fuls." We put on badges, and took a vow, and wrote our names in 
a little book, and were to m and report once a week. None of 
our poor were to want for food, clothing, Bible-reading, or medicine 
if we could help it. If we had not what they needed we were to 
beg. If they sent for us we were to go to them, and listen to all 
their complaints, and the poorer, uglier, and more uninteresting 
they were, the oftener we were to visit them. 

We begged a little upper room, and we stored jam and jelly, 
canned soups and blankets, red flannel and hymn-books as we could 
get them ; and we had quite a little list of poor. 

A good many of them were far from agreeable; but the most 
disagreeable of all was the Widow Damper. Older and more experi- 
enced people would never have borne with the Widow Damper, who 
required of us the most remarkable attentions; but we were all 
young and enthusiastic, the oldest not twenty-three, and we put up 
with the Widow Damper. 

Now you have some notion of what the Dutifuls were; but you 
don't know why I wanted so very much to go on the picnic. 

Edward* and I had been engaged to be married when the Dutifuls 
formed themselves into a society, and we loved each other dearly, 
but something had happened soon after that had made us quarrel. 
I didn't mean it ; he didn't mean it; but a word — and a look — a 
little neglect on one side — a little resentment on the other — and the 
deed was done. I gave him back his ring — he gave me back the 
locket with my hair in it, and life grew blanker and darker than I 
could have thought it would. 

We had not met since that dreadful day when we stood in the 
parlor, and I said: 

" Mr. Devere, after such words, of course there can be nothing 
more between us." 

And he answered: 

" As you please, Miss Ronan," just as though we had never called 



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WERNER'S READINGS 



each other Edward and Rose in all our lives. He did his duty in 
the society, but he did not come to the meetings, but paid his fine 
instead. 

And now that some months had passed, I wanted to see him 
again. Not that I should have spoken had we met. I was too 
proud for that, I hope. 

To this picnic he must come. They had put him upon the 
managing committee, and across his notice was written the word 
Duty. 

Whoever got such a notice must be on hand. And I knew Ned; 
he would be there. I had bought a new dress of his favorite color 
— a pale dove tint — and I had had it made Jike the dress he had 
liked best in those old, happy £imes, and I had the daintiest shoes 
and gloves, and a hat from Paris. I had coaxed papa for that. Oh! 
it was not vanity; but if he saw me, I wanted him to see me at my 
best. But here was the day, and the rain beat down. 

No, the Dutifuls would not picnic that day. I should not meet 
Edward. Perhaps I should never meet him again. 

" I suppose/' said mamma at the door, " I suppose, my dear, that 
there will be no picnic to-day ?" 

" Of course not," said I. 

" What a pity it should rain to-day," said mamma. " And of 
course in such a storm I can tell the Widow Damper's messenger 
that you can't come. I know that ' Duty before Pleasure' is the 
motto of your society, but I cannot think it any one's duty to give 
herself a cold." 

u Oh, I don't care for duty this morning," said I. " You can send 
the Widow Damper word that I'm sicker than she is." 

"1 did send the messenger away," said mamma. "I'm glad you 
approve. I was afraid you wouldn't." 

Then I went down to breakfast, nibbled some toast, and at last 
cried out: 

et I will go to the Widow Damper's. I've no business to break 
my vow; and since I can't have any pleasure, I'll be as miserably 
• dutiful as possible." 

Then rushing to my room I donned my waterproof, my overshoes, 



AND RECITATIONS. 



89 



and a dingy, old brown hat, seized upon an umbrella, and hurried 
away. 

Mrs. Damper lived in a very dirty court which turned out of a 
very dirty street, and at the very top of a very dirty house, of which 
hers was the very dirtiest room. 

I knocked at the door, and being answered by a doleful " K'min," 
which I knew well, lifted the latch and entered. 

There sat the Widow Damper in her rocking-chair — a gift from 
the Dutifuls — wrapped in a dressing-gown donated by the same 
party; the sleeves of this robe were tucked up with pins, and on his 
knees, at her feet, knelt a young gentleman with his coat off, polish- 
ing away at her arm with a vigor which had already made his face 
redder than her robe; but that face, flushed though it was, I recog- 
nized. It was Ned Devere. My Ned. Oh, no, not my Ned any 
more. I retreated. It was evidently my duty to go, but I must look 
once — just once — and — oh ! — oh ! — oh ! 

"Don't go," piped the Widow Damper. "You jest stay, Miss 
Eonan. This here ain't only Mr. Devere. I was took with rheu- 
matics that bad that I sent a neighbor's child, which I know you'll 
give five cents to, Miss, for going; or else she's that mean, she won't 
never fetch you again. I'll take keer on't, thankee. I sent her for 
one o' them Dutifuls, I didn't care which, to rub my elbers, and 
Mr. Devere, he came. She said you wouldn't, but I see she lied ; 
and I'm out o' tea and sugar, and I'd like some flanning, and ef 
there was a little more of that old port, it's jest the thing for me; 
likewise jelly is soothing." 

"I'll go and send some, Mrs. Damper," said I. 

"Not yet, Miss," said Mrs. Damper, " I've got two elbers, and 
both aches. Now Mr. Devere here has ben flying around from one 
to t'other, but you jest ketch hold, and you can go on stiddy, both 
of you." 

Duty before pleasure. . I remembered my vow. I tossed off my 
hat and cloak, and set to work. I did not look at Ned, but he saw 
me, of course. All red and blowzy from my run through wind and 
rain, and with my worst dress on, and not so much as a neck-ribbon : 
I thought of this as I polished the Widow Damper's knobby elbow 



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WERNER'S READINGS 



witli all my might and main. We rubbed in unison, he and I, paus- 
ing now and then for breath. Dutifuls could refuse the poor under 
their charge nothing. 

Suddenly the Widow Damper broke out: 

" Ain't none o' them Dutifuls ever going to make a match of it?" 
she spoke to me. 

I must answer. Dutifuls were to be very patient with their 
patients. 

" No, I think not," I said. 

" I thought that was the objeck," said the ungrateful old woman. 
We stopped polishing for a moment. Then: 
" To do our duty is the object," said I. 

" But young gals and young men will be young gals and young 
men," said Widow Damper. " Lor, tell me. I don't get no news. 
Who is engaged to who ?" 

"Two of them were engaged once, Mrs. Damper," said Ned, 
polishing away, "but she was outrageously unreasonable, and so it s 
over. " 

"No, he was absurdly jealous, and so it's over," said I. 

" She never cared for him, you see, Mrs. Damper," said Ned. 

"No; she discovered that he never cared for her, Mrs. Damper." 

"Mighty sakes!" cried the widow, "rub higher up, will you ?" 

We rubbed higher up, and furiously. 

"Not care!" said he. "Ah! little she knew." 

"And— little— he— knew!" J sobbed. 

" You're a skinning of me, you two Dutifuls," yelled Mrs. Damper, 
wrathfully. 

We paused and released the elbows we had vented our emotions 
on. He looked at me. I looked at him. How thin he was. How 
pale. Did he really care ? 

" Ned," said I, softly. 

" Rose," said he. 



AND RECITATIONS. 



91 



MRS. PICKLES WANTS TO BE A MAN. 

XT 0, it's not because he has the suffrage that I should like to be 
■ a man ; nor because of the advantages of his costume, 
though it is enviable when one is trying to catch a train, or climb - 
ing elevated-railroad steps. It's what I call the impromptu-ness of 
man's life that makes me envy him. 

There's Pickles, now. He comes home to dinner, smokes his 
cigar (taking his time about it), and then says: "Well, I think I'll 
go somewhere." And all he has to do is to put his hat on the back 
of his head and go. 

Of course, I could go somewhere, too; but I have to think of it 
the day before, and ask Pickles to buy tickets. And I must see to 
my dress and my gloves, and ask Aunt Jemima, as a favor, to come 
over and sit with the children. And after all that thought and 
preparation and dressing, perhaps I'd rather stay at home on that 
particular evening. Just when the thought strikes one that it 
would be pleasant to go somewhere is the time to go, and not the 
next day, nor the day after. Pickles can do that, and it's one of 
his masculine advantages. 

Then, if Pickles feels fidgety or restless, even if it is twelve 
o'clock at night, he can go prowling about; he can march up and 
down the sidewalk, with his hands in his pockets, or sit on the 
horse-block and whistle Yankee Doodle, or go down to the wharf 
and swing his feet over the water. Fancy me doing that sort of 
thing ! Gracious goodness ! Yet I could often quiet my nerves 
and have a good night's rest, if I might seek relief in some such 
simple way. I can't go to the druggist's after dark, for a paper of 
catnip for the baby without being asked, " Where I'm going all 
alone ?" by some boy with a tall hat on his head and a cigar in his 
mouth, or some old man who ought to be at home reading the 
Bible to his grandchildren. 

If I take a walk in the daytime without some such solemn mo- 
tive as a dry -goods store at the end of it, any one who sees me turn 
short around and retrace my steps regards me with suspicion. 



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WERNERS READINGS 



I'm a sort of boy by nature, I believe. Fd like to look into 
shop-windows and see what crowds are about; poke into auction- 
rooms and talk to any peculiar-looking person I meet; stare at the 
people hoisting blocks of marble and gigantic safes to the tops of 
houses, or the man going up the telegraph pole. 

I'd like, in fact, to do what I choose without remark; but Fm a 
woman, and it's my province to look as though I had swallowed 
the furnace poker, and say "Prunes and prisms," before I open the 
front door, to keep my mouth straight during the promenade. 

Tnen, too, there's sitting up for people, which is one of woman's 
chief duties after she is married. If Pickles was sitting up for me, 
and I didn't come, he would go after me. I can't go after him. I 
may walk the floor, and wonder whether the cars have collided, or 
the public building burnt down, or whether Pickles has been at- 
tacked by garroters ; but I mustn't go and see. 

I may hear howls and groans at the corner, and I daren't go out 
and make sure that nobody is demolishing Pickles. I can only lis- 
ten at the keyhole, or peek through upstairs shutters, and get into 
a fever. I often tell Pickles that if he were suddenly transformed 
into a woman, he'd know all about it, and that it would be very 
like being put into jail or an insane asylum. 

Then Pickles tells me I ought to be satisfied with woman's sphere, 
and thinks I want to vote; but I don't. Pickles misunderstands 
me. 



ES, my child, we'll send out a great many invitations. These 



five-o'clock teas are just the thing for nobodies that we don't 
ask to our large parties. We can scatter them in amongst the 
others, and there's no need of introducing them, or paying them 
much attention. In such a crowd they can't expect it, you know. 

Be very sure you don't neglect Mrs. Fauxpas, Kitty. They have 
two footmen behind their carriage now, and your pa says his in- 
come is ^e-mendous. Oh, yes, I know what your Aunt Barbara 



FASHIONABLE HOSPITALITY. 




AND RECITATIONS. 



93 



says about Mrs. Fauxpas, and it's true; but you ought to be more 
oJt a Christian than to bring up such stories about people that are 
spending fifty thousand a year, at the least, and who are visited by 
everybody. You've directed a card to her, eh? 

What ? Ask Fanny Trix ? No, of course not. Didn't some- 
body find out that her husband had a first wife living, and she's 
come back to stay with her parents, and teaches music for her bread 
and butter ! Keally, I think you show very little respect for me, 
to wish to invite people who have lost their character. Throw that 
card into the waste-basket. Oh, yes, I suppose we must invite 
Cousin Pink and his wife. I wish I had strength of mind enough 
to drop such people out and out. Oh, yes, I know Cousin Pink is 
good-natured, and that his wife used to have you all to tea and 
take you to the shows before your pa made his fortune; but you 
needn't go bellowing that fact for the servants to hear. Do try to 
get Amanda Pink into some corner where no one will see her. 

All the B's, of course, and all the C's — lovely people. Have 
their names in the fashionable notices all winter. The G's, too, as 
it is five-o'clock tea, and your pa finds them useful. 

Oh, we mustn't forget Mr. Gypsum. Have a great arm-chair 
saved for him: he's had the gout. Kitty, what a match he would 
be for you ! Well, I know they say he's an old sinner; but have you 
seen that lovely double house of his on the avenue ? And he'd 
leave you a million when he died. Tipsy every night ? Now, 1 
only call it exhilarated in a fine old gentleman like that. * 

You'll try to save a chair for old Dr. Praygood, eh, because he's 
had rheumatism? I'm sure it can't be so important that he should 
stay long that you need to make him so very comfortable. With 
his talk of having married your parents, and buried your grand- 
parents, and baptized you — I suppose he thinks he'll marry you, 
too. There he's very much mistaken. I mean to have you married 
in a splendid church, with as many officiating clergymen as I can 
get, and the most stylish bridesmaids and reporters on hand to 
put your dress and presents, and the names of the fashionable and 
distinguished people present, in next day's papers. Dr. Praygood, 
indeed, in his poky old box ! And I suppose Mrs. Praygood must 



94 



WERNER'S READINGS 



come too. Grandma loved her so, eh ? "Well, your poor grandma* 
always did seem to love nobodies most. Oh, we must have the Rev. 
Simper Softly; he's so sweet. Everybody asks him, and a nice 
clergyman is always so nice to have. No, he did not poison the 
uncle from whom he gets all his money. That was calumny. Not 
one of his congregation believed it, and they all feel very sure that 
ke bought the arsenic for rats. He said so. 

And now see here, Kitty: you needn't worry if Napoleon does 
forget to wait on old Mr. Praygood, and your Mrs. Pink, and Aunt 
Barbara, and the rest of that sort. He's an invaluable waiter — 
knows every one — will be sure to take care of all the distinguished 
people, and no matter about the rest. Pretend not to notice. If 
they never come again, so much the better. 



MY SWEETHEART'S BABY BROTHER. 



FELL in love with Arabella Appleby when I was very young. 



There was a great tribe of young Applebys, and Arabella had, 
as eldest sister, a miraculous number of household cares in conse- 
quence. Her principal one was Bob, a youngster in short panta- 
loons, who was the very imp of mischief, but whom she adored, be- 
lieving him, as did the rest of the family, to be a most remarkable 
boy. I had been courting Arabella for a year, but had never yet 
found a moment in which to pop the question because of this 
dreadful Bob. 

I admit that I did curry favor with the family by praising Bob, 
but to tell the truth, I detested him. And now there had begun 
to call upon Arabella a light-haired young doctor, evidently favored 
by papa, and I resolved to speak or die. I knew Bob's great long- 
ing for fire-crackers. I would buy him some. 1 would lead him 
and Arabella to some sequestered nook, and amidst the cracks and 
explosions ask her to be mine. 

With two pounds of cream candy in one pocket, and a packet of 
Chinese crackers in the other, I proceeded, one afternoon, to the 
Appleby mansion, and asked for Bob. 




AND RECITATIONS. 



95 



" Bob is in the garden," said Mrs. Appleby. " Arabella is try- 
ing to persuade him to take the kittens out*of the tin pail. He's 
selling them for clams (with the cover on, you know), and she's 
afraid the poor little things will be smothered." 

At this instant the air was rent with shrieks. 

" She's taken 'em out, poor child/' said mamma. " Perhaps I'd 
best go and see what I can do with him." 

"I'll go," said I. "I have some candy. I think I can console 
him." 

He was in the summer-house, beating my Arabella with both his 
fists, while she held in her lap a party of very young and skinny 
kittens, that had evidently not been rescued from the tin can a 
moment too soon. 

" Good afternoon, Miss Arabella," said I. " Why, Bobby, what's 
the matter? Come here and see what I've got for you." And I 
produced a portion of the candy. 

Bobby stopped yelling. He came toward me, and extended his 
paw for the candy. 

"Let us take him down to the grove, Miss Arabella," said I. 
"A sort of change of scene for him; and I want him to say his last 
new piece — ' Charge of the Light Brigade,' you know. It's really 
wonderful for so young a child." 

" Oh! indeed it is, Mr. Rawdon,"said Arabella. " Come, Bobby." 

There we were in the grove; the trees encompassed us; the grass 
was green, the skies were blue, the breeze delightful. 'Now, if I 
could quiet Bob, I could "tell my tale." 

"Now, Bobby," said I, "let's have the piece, and then I'll give 
you something nice." 

" Say it, Bobby," said Arabella. 

"No," said Bobby. 

"Well, no matter," saici I. "It isn't right to overtax his fine 
mind, Miss Arabella. I'll wait until he's ready. Here is the candy, 
Bobby, and here is something else." 
" Mr. Bawdon !" cried Arabella. " What would mamma say \" 
"They are perfectly harmless," said J: "why not let me teach 
him how to use them ? Poor child ! he has longed for them so." 



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WERNER'S READINGS 



"I know it/' said Arabella. " Now do be careful. Oh! — ah!" 
"Hold it so, Bobby," I said, "and hold this so, and light this 
thread, then off it goes." 

Whack! smack! crack! went the cracker. 

" Hurray !" yelled Bob, in great glee. "Lenime fire 'emmyse'f." 

Just what I wanted. Off went the crackers. 

"Isn't he cunning!" cried Arabella. " Oh, I've a good mind to 
go and call mamma to see him !" 

"She'd be nervous," said I. "Miss Arabella, I have for along 
time been very anxious to—" 

" Oo, tome fire off my clackers," said Bobby at this instant. 

" Fire them off yourself, like a man," said I. 

" I ain't a man," cried Bobby. " No such a sing," and he be- 
gan to yell. 

" He's sister's treasure," said Arabella. " Please, Mr. Rawdon, 
fire off one for him." 

I fired a dozen. Then Bob's mood changed. 

"Fire 'em myse'f," he remarked, and disappeared behind the 
bench. I began again : 

" Miss Arabella, I have waited to say what I now have to say, 
until my heart is almost bursting. I do not dare to flatter myself 
that my sentiments are reciprocated; but you must have seen — " 

Whack! whack! smack! crack! 

Arabella started away with a scream. 

That imp of darkness had pinned a pack to my coat-tails, and 
set them off. 

"Oh, naughty, naughty Bob! Oh, how it has scorched your 
nice, new coat!" said Arabella. " Bob, what a naughty boy; but it 
was cunning, too ; wasn't it?" she added. 

Bob, in the greatest glee, betook himself, at my suggestion, to 
a tree at some distance with his candy and crackers, and I, in my 
scorched coat, sat down beside Arabella. 

" Arabella," I began, " may I call you so ? My existence — " 

"Oh, oh, o-oo-o-h!" yelled Bob; "oh, oh, oh !" 

"My darling !" cried Arabella. " Oh, what is it ?" 

"He bit me!" cried Bob. 



AND RECITATIONS. 



97 



"What bit you?" said Arabella. "Not a dog? Ob, it may 
liave been mad, Mr. Eawdon." 

" There's no dog here," I said, a little sulkily. 

" A bird bit me," said Bob, and held up a paw. 

Some wasp, attracted by the candy, had stung him. But Ara- 
bella had some hartshorn; the sting was touched with it, the pain 
alleviated. Bob was dismissed. I sat down on the rustic seat and 
began again: 

" There are moments in a man's life, Arabella, when — " 

" He's killed himself this time," said Arabella. 

I myself thought he had. We rushed to Bob's side; he was 
howling, kicking, strangling, and shrieking all together. His 
mouth was full of red paper, and when I had pried it out with my 
finger, he delivered himself of this account of his mishap: 

" I eat a clacker and fired -off a tandy." 

" He'll die," said Arabella. 

" No," said I, " he did not swallow it. I've got it all out. See! 
Now we'll give him a drink of water and he'll be all right." 

I led the way to a well, made a cup of a leaf, gave Bob a drink, 
and seated him, with his candy on one side and the crackers on the 
other, amidst the grass. Then I took Arabella's hand in mine and 
led her away for a few steps. 

" Arabella," I said, " I am about to ask you a question to which the 
answer must be 'yes' or 'no/ If 'yes,' I shall be the happiest — " 

There was an awful splash in the well. Bob was nowhere to be 
seen. 

" He's down the well," screamed Arabella. 

I rushed to its side; the water was agitated; but Bob's form was 
not visible. I caught the chain and let myself down. In a mo- 
ment I was wet to the skin; but I caught something that scrabbled 
and scratched me with a sharp claw. I knew that Bob had thrown 
puss in, but I had tiot the inhumanity to leave her. Out I came, 
dripping with water and gore, satisfied that it was easier to go down 
into a well than to get out. Arabella stood with a serious coun- 
tenance and tried to help me out, and nearly pushed me in by an 
unscientific feminine grab at my coat. 



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" Bob said ' peep bo ' to me just as you jumped in. I found him 
behind the currant bushes. I'm afraid he threw poor pussy in. 
Are you very wet, Mr. Eawdon ?" 

The cat, whom I was holding tight, dug her talons into me at this 
juncture. 

"Hang the brat! I wonder what he'll do next/' said I, shiver- 
ing and stinging. " Was such an imp ever born ?" 
Arabella drew herself up. 

" Mr. Eawdon," said she, " I could not fail to understand what 
you did me the honor to imply a while ago. More on the subject I 
will never allow myself to listen to from one who entertains such 
sentiments toward my darling little brother;" and she sailed away, 
allowing me to depart as I pleased. I did not remain in the grove 
long, and I never called on Arabella again. 

She has married the light-haired doctor since, but my envy of his 
happiness was not overwhelming; for when they went upon their 
bridal tour I saw a third party in the carriage. It was Bob. 



TWO OPINIONS OF ONE HOUSE. 

THE LANDLORD'S OPINION". 

A SPLENDID house ! The greatest bargain in the city. Used 
to let for five hundred dollars more a year. In perfect order. 
Don't know why I was such a fool as to let it go at that rent. 
Never ought to have let it at all. Tenants are such destructive 
creatures. All they are willing to pay — stingy wretches — doesn't 
cover their wear and tear. They scratch the paper off, ruin the 
paint, hang their ridiculous portraits on the walls on nails, knock 
the ceilings down, pull the locks off, lose the keys, break the bell 
wires. Have a lot of children about. Smoke everything with 
their cooking. Have company tramping up tTie steps, wearing the 
very stones out. All alike, tenants are ; if they don't do one thing 
to destroy a body's house they do another. Some man or other 
had had a pipe in the dining-room last time I was there. No house 
can stand such things. And now they want me to repair it. Not 



AND RECITATIONS. 



99 



I. Not a penny-worth of repairs will I do ; and what is more, they 
shall either raise their rent this May or move. On that I'm de- 
termined. 

tenant's opikiok. 
Such a hole ! a perfect barn ! The dearest rent in New York. 
You see, Mr. B is never good at a bargain, and the landlady saw 
his weakness and charged him a rent no one else would have paid; 
and everything needs repair. Ceilings cracked, locks off, range 
won't .bake, furnace won't burn. Such horrid Avails that we have 
to cover them all up with pictures and brackets and things. Land- 
ladies are such stingy creatures ! It seems to make a woman mean 
to own a house ! There isn't a handle on any door nor a key to a 
single pantry, and we've mended the door-bell fifteen times. I'm 
just wretched. I don't seem to take any comfort in fixing up. 
It doesn't pay. If she'd be just a little reasonable about repairs 
we'd do our share. And we're the best tenants — so prompt and 
so quiet. Only three dear, sweet, cunning little children — perfect 
angels. And I am a good housekeeper ; and Mr. B is so domestic ; 
his greatest dissipation is to smoke a pipe with a friend or two 
over a glass of , beer of an evening. But I've made up my mind : 
either the rent must be reduced this year or we move. 



A FRIGHTENED WOMAN. 1/ 

T3REAKFAST, Mr. A ? No. I have cooked none. I couldn't 
light a fire without matches ; and what did I read about the 
effect of inhaling a lucifer match ? Well, you needn't laugh. You 
know I don't mean the match, but the fume that rises from it. I'll 
never have a match in my house again — never! 

Don't put on your hat. You must not go down town to-day, Mr. 
A. The papers say it is only a question of time when that awful 
accident will happen on the elevated road ; and if it does happen, 
I'd rather -be there than in the horse-cars below, I assure you. I 
call it flying in the face of Providence to take any cars. 

I "look sleepy," do I ? Well, I am sleepy. I never closed an 



100 



WERNER'S READINGS 



eye all night. I shall never sleep again. Night is the time for 
burglars. I read that account of the whole family tied to bed- 
posts and beaten to death for the sake of the silver and jewelry ! 
Am I to sleep and let my children be murdered ? 

Oh ! I can see you smile, but you may do it. " Give you some 
cold meat and bread, then?" No ; a gentleman was choked only 
last night by a morsel of meat and bread swallowed hastily. As 
for cooking anything, there was a lady set fire to her apron at 
the range, and was burned to death, not four blocks away from 
here. Mr. A, put down that razor ! I can't see you shave. Only 
last Friday a gentleman who was shaving went out of his mind, and 
cut his wife's throat, and then his own. 

No, children, you cannot go to school to-day. There was little 
Lizzie Picklebury kidnapped in Indiana, and never found for four- 
teen weeks ! No, out of my sight you can't go, so there now. And 
stop cutting those patches, Selina. I read of a little girl who put 
her eyes out with a sharp pair of scissors not long ago. The poor 
little child is blind now. 

Lulu Arabella, while I think of it, I forbid your going to that 
party with Mr. Smith. How do you know but he may be a burg- 
lar in disguise ? Oh, yes, I know we think we know all about him ; 
but read that account of two respectable young men who taught 
Sabbath-school classes and all, who turned out to be members of a 
great company of burglars. Don't tell me ! Not another word. 
And never go out of an evening with Mr. Smith. He may have 
been paying attention to another young lady, and she might throw 
vitriol in your face and scar you awfully for life! What ! " Highly 
improbable ?" Do you think so ? Eeacl the papers, then. There 
were two cases of vitriol throwing yesterday. 

What do you say, Mr. A? e( I've gone delirious, and you are go- 
ing for the doctor ?" No, you needn't ; I've carried the joke far 
enough. Bridget has breakfast ready, and I don't mean a thing I 
said; but you advised me . yesterday to read the newspapers and 
improve my mind, and I read them all through while I -was sitting 
up for you last night ; and you can see what the effect would be on 
my mind if I should go on doing that every night. 



AND RECITATIONS. 



101 



IN AMITY OF SOUL. 



" In amity of soul . 
Let Christians dwell together, 



And without strife 



Live out this life, 
And each befriend his brother." 



HAT'S our choir singing ; Dr. Dodd is the basso, Mr. Potts 



A is the tenor, Miss Lott the soprano, and Miss Miller the alto. 
You think their singing sounds like that of angels? Well, so it 
does, my dear ; it brings the tears to my eyes. "And each be- 
friend his brother." How beautifully deep Dr. Dodd's voice is in 
that. He's been trying to get Mr. Potts out of his place for six 
months, ever since some one said that Potts sings better than he 
does — which is the fact, too. Poor Mr. Potts supports a widowed 
mother and a sick sister, and he needs his salary ; but they say 
that Dr. Dodd will get him out soon, and that rich Mr. Humble- 
bee will sing in his place. 

" In am-i-ty of soul." What a sweet voice Mr. Potts has ! and 
how he hates Miss Miller. They quarrel behind the blue silk cur- 
tain all sermon time, and if she can do anything spiteful to him 
she does it. You see, he pays more attention to Miss Lott than he 
does to her — naturally so, for I believe ^they are engaged. 

"In amity of soul let Christians dwell together." How sweet 
that sounds ! That's Miss Miller's voice. She often says she could 
poison Dr. Dodd. She stood on his toe Easter Sunday on purpose 
— the foot with the corns on it. She glories in it, and says she en- 
joyed seeing him squirm. But she apologized beautifully before 
the minister. She said the heavenly words and music made her 
forget all else ; and the minister — good man — remonstrated with 
Dr. Dodd when he declared he didn't believe her. 

There's Miss Miller again: "Let Christians dwell together." 
Her enunciation is so perfect. They say she brings her two young 
lady cousins into the choir seats every Sunday to make. fun of poor 
Miss Lott. Sometimes it's her voice, sometimes her bonnet that 




102 



WERNER'S READINGS 



they ridicule ; and Miss Lott says she shall box their ears some fine 
Sunday. 

Do you think our organist fine ? I do, though I'm no musician. 
But Dr. Dodd says he's never right, and lie says that Dr. Dodd is 
always flat, and that as for Mr. Potts, if he makes any more satirical 
remarks about the monkey being before the organ, and not on ic, 
he shall pull his nose on the gallery stairs some day. 

Oh, do hear them in the last chorus ! 

" In amity of soul," etc. 



MIAOULETTA. 



HER fur was whiter than the falling 
snow, 

Her pretty nose was pinker than the 
rose; 

Castilian blondes have emerald eyes, you 
know, 

And Miaouletta's orbs were like to 
those. 

'Her black frisette was parted on her 
head, 

Like some young nun's beneath her coif and band; 
Supple her form and delicate her tread 

And soft her paw within a friendly hand. 
But in the midnight cruel was her shriek, 
And swift and sharp her claw when mice were heard to squeak. 




Her home was in a great Parisian house, 
Let out in flats according to the mode. 

Au Premiere dwelt the German Baron Krouse, 
Au Seconde Madame Marabout abode; 



AND RECITATIONS. 



103 



Nine merry students dwelt au Troisieme, 

Sung their wild songs, smoked pipe and cigarette, 

Blew kisses to the dame au Quatrieme, 
Who, at her window, fed her paroquet; 

And in the garret, under bare, brown beams, 

A poor young painter dwelt and gave the world his dreams. 

Often when crimson grew the evening sky, 

Turning the garret window-panes to gold, 
Fair Miaouletta with a little cry 

Crept softly meath the portiere's dusky fold, 
Sprang with a purr upon the painter's knee, 

With her smooth head caressed his beard of gold 
Until she bade his pretty fancies flee 

And his eyes drop her bright eyes to behold; 
For Miaouletta's furry feline breast 
By a grand passion had, alas ! become possessed. 

Often her mistress, the dame Marabout, 

Had said: "Thou shouldst have been a demoiselle, 
My pretty cat; thou wouldst have lovers true, 

And with a dot be sure to marry well; 
For of all girls I know are none so fair, 

So graceful and with such a dainty tread, 
None have such neatly-parted coal-black hair 

As thou hast on thy pretty little head." 
" Ah ! would I were a girl," poor pussy sighed; 
" And that my painter wooed me for his bride." 

Far beyond Paris, where the maple trees 

Made a deep shadow 7 round an old chateau, 
Near which the frightened peasant nightly sees 

A hideous spectre wander to and fro — 
A place deserted save by newt and toad, 

Where empty windows, darkly looking down 
Upon the long white ribbon of a road 

That winds so dustily from town to town, 



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WERNERS READINGS 



Seem fitting frames whence demon heads should peep, — 
The wishing- well lies cool and dark and deep. 

And whoso may prove brave enough its side 

To seek at midnight when the moon is bright, 
And there beside its margin to abide 

The while such things as haunt it are in sight — 
Elves, fairies, goblins, imps, a headless ghost — 

Showing no terror, uttering no cry, 
May, after, ask the thing he wishes most 

Of the crowned queen of. all this motley fry. 
This tale to Miaouletfca had been told 
On firelit winter eves by many a grand dame old. 

And in the night, when all with pillowed heads 

Rested, the city lying at her feet, 
Poor Miaouletta mounted to the leads 

And to the stars her story did repeat: 
"Oh, would I were a maiden fair and young ! 

Oh, would I were a lovely demoiselle, 
Fairer than any poet ever sung, 

That he I love his love to me might tell I" 
Then sudden of the wishing- well thought she, 
And cried: " Fll risk my life no more a cat to be !" 

Over the roofs of Paris the moon lies, 

A disk of silver set about with stars; 
Ghostly the spires point upward to the skies, 

And red on the horizon riseth Mars. 
Still is the night, save when the tipsy lurch 

Of some late reveller its silence breaks, 
Or in the miser's garden near the church 

Grimly his cruel watch-dog growls and wakes. 
Over the roofs a slim, swift shadow fleets: 
'Tis Miaouletta as fast she flies along the streets ! 



AND RECITATIONS. 



And now behind her lies her city home, 

Her feet are set upon the country road; 
They sink bemired in the new ploughed loam, 

Skirt the rough fence of many a small abode; 
Thorns tear her fur, the thistles pierce her skin, 

She skirts damp marshes that be mire herfeet, 
And, unaccustomed to the country din, 

She trembles at the penned lamb's harmless bleat, 
And fears the cricket in its merriest mood, 
And dreads the hooting owl within the chestnut wood. 

Breathless she nears at last the wishing-well, 

Just as the clock within the steeple high 
Drops on the village roofs its silver knell 

For twelve sad hours that have been doomed to die. 
It is the time for sheeted ghosts to rise, 

For fays to frolic and for imps to dance; 
Poor Miaouletta turns toward the skies, 

Where huntress Dian reigns, a timid glance, 
And, springing to the damp well's mossy brink, 
Crouches and shivers there and does not dare to think. 

They come — the fearful things that haunt the spot; 

Words cannot paint them hideous as^hey are: 
Witches on brooms, a crook'd, uncanny lot; 

Twelve imps from Hades soaked in blazing tar; 
Nine goblins driving each a chariot skull 

Drawn by nine new-born babes who sob for rest; 
Demons with eyes all leaden, dead, and dull; 

A thing with fiery orbs set in its breast. 
But these are not the sights that most affright 
White Miaouletta on this hideous, grewsome night. 

For all the elfin hunt is up and out, 

Horses and hounds and huntsmen are in view; 

The winding horn, leads on the cruel rout, 
The dogs' deep bay awakes the view halloo. 



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WERNER'S READINGS 



And still from dimmest depths of elfin wood 
The wild cries of the chase continual swell; 

The furious rout comes nearer, rood by rood, 
Until it circles round the fairy well, 

And each dog lifts his eyes toward the face 

Of Miaouletta, who moves never from her place. 

And Miaouletta's trial hour is passed. 

The ghosts are gone, the fairy huntsmen fled, 
And in the still dark night she sits at last 

And sees a black bat circle round her head, 
Settle upon the weir's cool -brink, and then 

Change to a dainty, delicate young thing, 
Fairy in size — a goddess in her air; 

Her robe a spider's web, a moth's her wing, 
Who on a glittering wand does lightly lean, 
And Miaouletta knows it is the fairy queen. 

" Speak not," the fairy cries, " thou hast no need. 

My dainty ear thy wordless hope hath caught; 
And since thy love hath made thee brave indeed, 

Thou hast the wish that hither thee hast brought. 
Beneath this wand grow tall and fair and sweet 

As any gentle lady ii!" the land, 
All satin smooth thy skin from brow to feet, 

Rosy thy lips and creamy white thy hand; 
Lovely as Venus rising from the sea, 
Rise, Miaouletta, Love's and Beauty's queen to be V 

Shivering and white she stood amidst the dew, 

Fearing her joy; and still the fairy wand 
Waved slowly on. The haunted old chateau 

Its ancient splendor in a trice had donned: 
The silken curtains draped the window-panes; 

Soft carpets spread once more across the floors; 
Flowers blossomed in the garden beds again, 

And liveried menials threw wide the doors, 



AND RECITATIONS. 



And handmaids clustering round the new-born dame 
Dressed her in silken robes that from the Orient came. 

" One warning word/' the fair enchantress cries. 

" Before I leave thee I have made so fair: 
A wish hath made thee and a wish can mar; 

Remember this, remember, and beware !" 
Then she was gone; and Miaouletta, bid 

To gaze upon a mirror, joyous cried: 
u Can this be she who late though often chid 

Unto her lady's toilet table hied 
And, horror-stricken, saw the head so flat, 
The grizzled whiskers of a green-eyed, white-backed cat 

A countess to the painter's garret hies, 

The countess Miaouletta, young and sweet. 
She smiles upon him with her azure eyes, 

Unbinds the hair that drops to kiss her feet. 
She poses with an antique statue's grace, 

And bids him paint her with the truest art; 
And, Avorshipping the beauty of her face, 

From out his keeping slips the painter's heart, 
And in that attic studio is told 
The tale forever new though still as Eden old. 

The wedding morning dawns; the feast is spread 

Within the old chateau, a palace now. 
The priest has laid his blessing on each head, 

The orange-flowers deck Miaouletta's brow. 
In the bride's place she sits, while all the host 

Of liveried servants fill each sparkling glass 
With rare old wine, and she is made the toast, 

And on from lip to lip her praises pass. 
They whisper as the bridal paeans ring, 
The sun ne'er shone upon so beautiful a thing. 



108 



WERNER'S READINGS 



Sudden a cry ! The ladies start and cling 

Each to her lord; one screams and swoons away; 
They are affrighted by a dreadful thing ! 

A little mouse, small, smooth, and very gray, 
Of the chateau an old habitue, 

Smelling the banquet, has crept from his hole 
And to the widespread table made his way, 

From the full feast to ask his little dole; 
And quaint and comic in a carven bowl 
Gnaws at a nut and sore affrights each lady's soul. 

" A mouse ! a mouse V Uprises at the cry 

The gentle bride, attired in wreath and veil — 
Rises in haste; but ah, 'tis not to fly ! 

Her eyes shine brightly and her lips are pale; 
She joins the chase with cries that chill the blood 

Of those who listen, and her white robes sweep 
Over the stairs, along the gorgeous hall, 

Down to the kitchen, where she stoops to creep, 
And, crouching, clutches with her white-gloved hand 
The hapless mouse, while all in fear around her stand. 

Now for a moment she has let it go, 

And now, with wanton triumph, claws it back. 
She pats it, cuddles it her veil below, 

Plays with it with a curious feline knack, 
While the young bridegroom, flushed with anxious shame, 

Whispers that this is but an ill-timed jest; 
Strives from the floor to lift his lovely dame. 

And " Is she mad ?" whispers each wedding-guest, 
While Miaouletta doth these words repeat: 
" Let me alone, for fain this sweet mouse would I eat." 

" Cast the thing down, obey me V wildly cries 

The painter, deeming he himself is mad. 
But she looks up into his eyes and sighs 

And answers, and her voice is very sad: 



AND RECITATIONS. 



" That you would love and cherish me you said; 

If you deny me little things like that, 
And prove a tyrant on the day we're wed, 

I wish with all my heart — I were a cat \" 
And sudden forward fell upon her face, 
Amidst her wedding-robes of snow-white silk and lace. 

He lifts her in his arms — but what betides ! 

The satin robe lies empty on his heart; 
The wreath that crowned the loveliest of brides, 

The veil, the coronet, all fall apart. 
Bracelets and rings lie glittering on the floor, 

The zone, unbuckled, glitters as it drops; 
Empty the slippers lie beside the door, 

And, growling even as she licks her chops, 
A white cat sits and eats a little mouse 
Upon the desolate hearth of the enchanted house. 



WHAT THE CRICKETS SAID. 

\I OU would have come last night if you had known 

How close I watched for you 
Out in the garden, where the moonlight shone 

'Midst deepest evening blue. 
The crickets' voices filled the air; I made 

Words of them, these were- they : 
" He comes not ! comes not !! comes not!!! " so it played; 

" What keeps, keeps, keeps him away?" 

We were so sr&v that night : the others came ; 

The hours wore winged feet; 
Some gracious spirits tuned all hearts the same, 

And yet 'twas incomplete, 
Because you came not. Twice when breezes blew 

Leaf shadows o'er the floor, 
I fancied, out of hoping, it was you, 

Your shadow at the door. 



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WERNER'S READINGS 



He sang, our Spaniard with the woman's smile; 

Our sailor told his tale ; 
And in the spaces of the interwhile 

Sweet whispers did prevail. 
The night burnt out as perfumed censers burn, 

And all was at its best, 
When drifts of dreamy chat came in their turn 

To follow song and jest. 

And I took all my little role of mirth, 

And played it fairly through; 
Yet when cold midnight crossed the quiet earth 

And bade me say, " Adieu," 
I from my pillow heard the crickets' cry, 

And made of it once more : 
" He came not ! came not ! ! came not !!!" just as I 

Had made " comes not " before. 



"N" FOR NANNIE AND "B" FOR BEN. 



" 1\T " For Nannie and " B " for Ben : 

I see them now as I saw them then, 
On the bark of the oak-tree wed. 
She sat waist-deep in the clover white, 
And the liquid gold of the June sunlight 
Swept over her sweet young head. 

And I stood carving the letters twain, 
That time and tempest have all in vain 

Striven to blur and blot. 
They live in the oak-tree's dusky grain, 
Stamped as their memory on my brain, 

Changing and fading not. 

Oh, the vows that I vowed that day ! 
Their broken shards in my bosom stay, 
"Wounding it hour by hour. 




AND RECITATIONS. 



Could I be false to one so true ? 
Dared I be cruel, my love, to you, 
Nannie, my lily flower ? 

Ere the snow had whitened those letters twain, 
In the old church porch you hid your pain 

As my bride and I passed by. 
Your eyes were brave, but your cheek grew white. 
The cheek I should have pillowed that night 

Where it never now may lie. 

Little Nannie, you are at rest, 

The buttercups growing over your breast, 

Close to the grave-yard gate. 
But ah ! /live to rue the day 
Gold tempted my steps from love away, 

And mine is the sadder fate. 

For I'd give the rest of my life to-night, 
To see you sit in the clover white, 

The sun on your locks of gold, 
And carve once more, as I carved them then, 
" N " for Nannie and " B " for Ben, 

On the bark of the oak-tree old. 



"\ \ 7 AS it a dream or not, 

Love; do you know ? 
It seems so long, long, long, 

Long, long ago, 
Counted by days and years 

Not so far sped ; 
Counted by falling tears, 
Long ages dead. 



A DREAM. 




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WERNER'S READINGS 



Our boat was on the sea, 

And Hope sat in the prow. 
" Come, dearest, come," 

You whispered, all aglow; 
" Come, love, come, 

For Hope hath trimmed the bark; 
Listen to her promises: 

Hark, love, hark!" 

In your hand my hand lay, 

So you led me there, 
Down steps that, as we left them, 

Melted into air. 
" Fear not, lady mine," 

So you whispered sweet; 
" Wish we to retrace the steps 

Trodden by Love's feet ?" 

We sat within our bark, 

And Hope sang through sweet hours, 
And Love lay at our feet, 

Enchained with flowers; 
And faded fast the shore, 

White mists enwrapped the sea. 
What did I see but you, love ? 

What did you see save me ? 

Our boat lay 'midst the mists: 

" Hark, love, hark ! 
Are those muffled drums, love, 

Beating through the dark ? 
Love is chained with cypress, 

Hope is growing numb; 
Come from out the mists, love, 

Come, love, come. 



AND RECITATIONS. 



113 



" Our boat was on the sea, 

But Death sat in the prow, 
And Love had turned to tears, 

And drowned Hope in them now. 
And all the scene lay wrapped 

In black mists brooding low, 
But it was not all a dream, love ; 

Ah, no, love, no !" 



T_J OW splendid is the Jewish bride, 

High crowned with rubies like a queen, 
Her crimson lips, her velvet eyes, 

Her black locks with their satin sheen, 
Miriam, Miriam. 

The jewelled bosom's fall and rise, 
The jewelled ear, the jewelled arm, 

Thyself the fairest gem of all, 

Smiling and glowing, soft and warm, 
Miriam, Miriam. 

His visioned dream the organ breaks 
With plaintive rise and solemn swell; 

Hark, from the belfry's lofty place 
Peals merrily a marriage bell. 

Alas, alas, Miriam. 

And in the painted window's light 

He sees his bride, Penelope : 
Pure as the pearls upon her brow, 

And pale, and sweet, and proud is she, 
Penelope, Penelope. 



AT THE ALTAR. 




WERNER'S READINGS 



The joy-bells ring, the horses prance, 

Fresh flowers are flung and kerchiefs fly; 

The bridegroom sits as in a trance, 
And still his heart repeats its cry, 

Miriam, Miriam. 

Hadst thou defied thy kinsman's ban, 
I from my father's curse been free, 

My love would stand where now she stands, 
My mother's choice, Penelope. 

Miriam, Miriam. 



THE OLD, OLD STORY. 



Sits smiling in the sun, 
Beside her on the old stone bench 

The story-book just done ; 
And lurking in her wine-brown eyes 

A story just begun, 
For yonder, pruning apple trees, 
Behold the farmer's son ! 

Slowly adown the pathway 

The pastor comes and goes, 
And settles with his long, lean hand 

The glasses on his nose. 
Bore ever dry, brown branch before 

So beautiful a rose ? 
Ah, he thinks his' blossom only a bud, 

Though he watches it as it blows. 

Is it the story of Moses 

In his rush-wrapped cradle found, 
Or of Joseph and his brethren, 

He thinks as he glances round ? 




HE pastor's little daughter 



AND RECITATIONS. 



115 



"You have finished your volume, Amy, 
Is it something Scriptural and sound ?" 

And his little daughter blushes and starts, 
And her book falls to the ground. 

Go on with your walk, good pastor, 

You do not yourself deceive ; 
It has been a Scriptural story 

Since Adam first kissed Eve. 
And never blush, little lassie, 

The tale was written above ; 
No other so speaks of heaven 

As the old, old story of love. 



HER HEART WAS FALSE AND MINE 
-^r ^ WAS BROKEN. 



"\ \ T"E stood upon the sea-girt sand, 

And gazed upon the starlit ocean, 
And there I fondly clasped her hand 

And told her of my heart's devotion. 
The new moon from the summer sky 

Saw our first kiss — love's sweetest token; 
But ere another moon was high 

Her heart was false, and mine was broken. 

A perfumed note, a silken glove, 

A shadow from the threshold gliding — 
These were enough to banish love 

That I had fondly deemed abiding. 
Ah, do, not bid me tell thee more, 

For bitter was my heart's awaking; 
Enough that when I passed the door 

Her heart was false, and mine was breaking. 



[Written at fifteen years of age.] 




116 



WERNER'S READINGS 



We met last night amidst the crowd; 

Her beauty every voice was praising; 
And while my heart beat fast and loud, 

Her eyes on mine were calmly gazing. 
Oh, could it be she had forgot 

The tender vows that she had spoken ? 
Or was it she remembered not 

Her heart was false, and mine was broken ? 



TO A. M. OLAR. 

AN OLD MAN'S MEMOEIES. 



T T was o'er ! The trust I cherished 
**• All too soon had known decay; 
Black and hollow now 1 saw thee, 
Thy fair surface shorn away. 

Yet when striving to uproot thee, 
Then I suffered deepest woe; 

Bitter pain though thou hadst given, 
Worse it was to feel thee go. 

When I knew I must surrender 

Every hold I had on thee, 
Thon, alas ! didst seem most tender, 

Most to cling and cleave to me. 

Naught can ever fill the place whence 
Thou for aye must now depart, 

I should only find another 
Even falser than thou art. 

Yet will aching mem'ries haunt me 
Of that dentist void of ruth, 

Who, with forceps strong and cruel, 
Wrenched thee out, lost double tooth' 



AND RECITATIONS. 



BESSIE'S DILEMMA. 

*HPHE cows in the farm-yard know me, 

Dapple, and Doll, and Dunn; 
And when at the garden-gate I stand, 

To greet me the watch-dogs run. 
" Everything loves you here," said he, 
And I knew his meaning. Well, ah me! 

He is tall, this Western farmer, 

His hair is beech-nut brown, 
Flecked with gold in the sunlight : 

I have never seen him Irown. 
te I'm sure to be kind to my wife," said he. 
I knew why he said it. Oh, dear me! 

Apples grow in his orchard, 

Eed and russet and gold; 
You would think snow lay in the meadow 

When he loosens his white sheepfold. 
" I don't know a better dairy," said he, 
u Than my wife will boast of." Oh, dear me! 

One could dream of a life arcadian 

As a farmer's wife, I think, 
When the cattle stand in summer 

Mid-leg in the brook to drink; 
And the strawberries red in the grass I see, 
And the birds in the branches sing hymns to me. 

But this peach-cheeked, blue-eyed farmer, ' 

Honest and good, I know, 
Could he live out a pastoral poem ? 

Nothing but time could show. 
And the unloved, lonely wives I see 
Are so worn and pitiful! Oh, dear me! 



WERNER'S READINGS 



Do any men love forever? 

Do any men have time 
To keep wedding-bells a-ringing 

Through life with the same sweet chime? 
Do poets live up to their dreams that you see, 
Better than farmers ? Oh, dear me ! 



LOVE'S REMINISCENCES, 



I. 

IN that enchanted hour 
When the bee drones above the latest flower 
That opes its heart to take him to its breast 
Ere home he flies to rest, 
When the last moon's pale ghost 
Haunts twilight's ruddy coast, 
Before night's sea o'erwhelms it black and cold, 
And, queen-like, crowned with gold, 
This eve's moon leads her host of silver stars, 

I think of you. 

It is the hour of rest : 

Tired Nature drowses on Earth's placid breast; 
Home to their nests the wandering swallows come 
The cattle cease to roam, 
And patient wait beside the dairy door ; 
And I, day's dull toil o'er, 
Find best repose of heart in thoughts of you, 
Sweet thoughts of you. 

IL 

There is a note within your voice 

So exquisitely sweet, 
That, wanting it, the nightingale 

Leaves her song incomplete. 



AND RECITATIONS. 



119 



And once when woods were at their best, 

In prime of summer-time, 
I caught you singing unaware 

A fragment of old rhyme, my dear, 

A fragment of old rhyme. 
You gave a little golden laugh, 

Like waters in the sun; 
A ripple and a flash, my dear, 

And a dimple when 'twas done. 
You chided me for hearing you, 

And said you sang not well; 
But how your song had touched my heart 

I did not dare to tell, my dear, I did not dare to tell. 
ILL 

Once we rode together, your steed kept pace with mine ; 

Purple shone the heather in the June sunshine. 

Underneath the alders, there we lighted down : 

Was there more than sweetness in those eyes of brown? 

All alone together, only you and I — 

Sweetest of all mem'ries, let that mem'ry lie 

Nearest to my bosom, dearest to my soul, 

Of all recollections that make up life's whole ! 

Might I not have kissed you 'neath those alders sweet? 

Did I only fancy I made your heart beat ? 

IV. 

Oh, I know that there is bliss 
In the meeting of your kiss, 
And I dream that your embrace 
Every woe of life might chase 
From my bosom's desert place, 
Yet I may not tell you so. 
One way, dearest, I must go, 
And the other you, I know. 
Still I'll fondly watch o'er you, 
And in secret keep heart-true 
To a love you never knew. 



WERNER'S READINGS 
V. 

Past is the twilight hour, 

The time I dedicate unto my dreams : 
It leaves me sadly like a fading flower 

Amidst night's still star-beams. 
Day is too garish for sweet thoughts of you, 

And night too cold; 
Till the next twilight cometh then, adieu, 

Adieu, my love, to you. 



REAT? Nay, the man is never great, 



When 'neath ambition's cruel yoke 
His true soul prostrate lies. 

I hate a coward who does not dare 
To wear his colors in his cap 

And face the world, his simple self, 
No matter what may hap ; 

Who cringes for the public smile, 
And in a masker's habit decked. 

For but a little meagre fame 
Would pawn his own respect. 

O baits of fortune and of pride, 
So paltry seen in heaven's light, 

That ye should tempt the souls of men 
From purest truth and right! 

So that I sometimes think that power 
And fame and wealth the soul assoil, 

And that the patriot must be 
Some humble son of toil, 



A GREAT MAN. 




However high he chance to rise, 



AND RECITATIONS. 



121 



Who, doing well his simple part 

By wife and babes and parents old, 
Keepeth a patriarchal law 

Within his little fold. 
And while his "betters" fight for place, 

And many a "great man" turns his coat, 
Goes calmly to the village polls 

And casts one honest vote. 



AURELIA' S VA LENTINE. 

,r TT*WAS on the eve of good St. Valentine, 

JL The patron saint of lovers — mine awhile, — 
That, flushed with draughts of hope's ambrosial wine, 

Pressed from the vintage of Aurelia's smile, 
I sat me down to write a simple rhyme. 

Thoughts that were honey-sweet 
Sought to the Muse's temple still to climb, 

Treading a measure to my heart's wild beat; 
Till they were fit, methought, so bright to shine, 

As to be named Aurelia's valentine. 
"The day may come when I may take 

Thee, best-loved, to my breast, 
As birds their birdlings, when they break 

Their fairy prisons, to their nests. 
White-shrined within my heart have lain 

The brooded dreams, beloved, of thee, 
As in their pearly shells the birds 

Reposed before their wings were free. 
And faintest chirpings I have heard 

Of the sweet song I hope to hear 
In perfect melody, my bird, 

When I have cast away all fear, 
And thou art mine and I am thine, 

Who now am but Thy valentine. 



WERNER'S READINGS 



"Oh, bright shall be the woodland nest, 

Mine own, that I will build for thee; 
Life's beating storms may do their best, 

My bosom still shall shelter thee; 
And when the spring-time smiles are o'er, 

And faded all the summer's prime, 
And naught remains but winter hoar, 

With all his woful frost and rime, 
Together, as the glad birds flit 

When autumn comes to tropic shores, 
We'll wing our happy way where love 

Immortal dwells forevermore, 
And there shalt thou for aye be mine, 

Who now am but 

Thy valentine." 

'Twas on the morn of good St. Vale itine, 

The patron s".int of lovers — mine no more, — 
I saw two shadows in the sweet sunshine 

Athwart the lattice of a cottage door. 
Only two shadows, but their lips had met. 

I passed and left them. O sad heart of mine ! 
In thee that golden dawn life's sun had set, 

Aurelia never read her valentine ! 
Down in the wood I found an empty nest, 

Untimely built where spring and winter meet, 
Broken and soiled, and 'stead of loving breasts, 

Its mossy hollow filled with frozen sleet. 
The sight o'erbrimmed my eyes with sorrow's brine 

"Ah me !" sighed I, "thou wert some poor 

Bird's valentine." 



PART THIRD. 

MISGELl2ANE0aS AcIfRORS. 



124 



WERNER'S READINGS 



AT THE RUG AUCTION. 



Henry Baldwin. 



THE POPULAR IDEAL OP DECORATIVE ART. 

Dramatis Persona : Ferdinand ; Ids Mother ; two Young Ladies ; Bride 

and Bridegroom. 

IT IS MOTHER. I don't know much about this kind of thing, 
you know ; but the Potters say it's the correct thing to have 
rugs, and I'm bound to have them while they're the rage. You 
know your father says I never get anything till it goes out of fash- 
ion, don't you know, and I must say I got ahead of him for once, 
yesterday. I ordered a screen with storks and cat-tails at the 
"Decorative Art." I suppose the Potters ought to know, oughtn't 
they, Ferdinand ? They've been abroad, 

Ferdinand. Ya-as! But so has our butcher, don't you know. 

His Mother. Oh, that's a different thing. I'm sure Genevra is 
posted as to what's what ; she studied art in Florence a whole 
month ; with the old masters, I suppose. 

Ferdinand. Ya-as ; some old duffer or other. I say ! these 
things have a second-hand look. 

His Mother. Why, of course. That's because they're so 
ancient, don't you know ; and the Pesters say they're not genuine 
unless they're dingy. The Potters are perfect amateurs in all this 
sort of thing, don't you know. 

Ferdinand. You mean connoisseurs, don't you? 

His Mother. No, of course I don't ! I took a prize at school 
in French literature, before you were born. Where do you suppose 
they got so many rugs ? It really makes me sad to think of the 
poor Persians, or Turks, or whatever they are, parting with their 
treasures and living on bare floors, don't you know. 

Ferdinand. Oh, they don't worry much over it, I guess. I'll 
bet these old things are all made over in Hoboken, where they get 
up the antique furniture, don't you know. They smell bad enough 



AND RECITATIONS. 



125 



to have come from Hoboken, or Hunter's Point, for that matter. I 
should think they might have dusted them a little before they put 
them on the ferry-boat, don't you know. 

His Mother. Oh, hush ! I want to hear what these people 
behind us are saying. 

Young Lady. Yes ! Isn't it just too oriental for anything ! 
Such harmony ! Doesn't it take you right back to the East ? 
Doesn't it remind you of what's-his-name in the Arabian Nights ? 
Why, how a thing goes from you ! Why, you know ! 

Her Friend. Oh, yes, of course. What-do-you-call-her told 
him stories ? 

Young Lady. Yes, that's it ! Isn't it just like that ? Do see 
that sweet* prayer rug! Can't you imagine a corsair, or some such 
fascinating creature, spreading it out on the floor of a Bosphorus — 
no — what is it they call them ? 

Her Friend. Why, I don't know. Perhaps you mean a mosque. 
Don't they pray in those sometimes ? 

Young Lady. Yes. That's what I meant. All tiled, you 
know, and brass lamps and incense and bric-a-brac, and all that sort 
of thing ; and how angelic he must have looked, kneeling on it with 
his dark eyes! 

Her Friend. You do have the loveliest ideas ! I never knew 
any one with such an imagination. You ought to write poems and 
have them published. 

Young Lady. Why, the idea ! There's a seraphic thing-a- 
majig! Where's the catalogue ? Well, I can't pronounce it! The 
beauty of it is that they put their whole soul into it. It's for daily 
use, and yet they've made it a •'''thing of beauty " — you know that 
sweet poem of Longfellow's? That's Buskin's idea, you know. 
Now, if our artisans would only — oh, that dust ! Don't you detect 
the odor of sandalwood ? 

Her Friend. Ye-es. No, I don't think I can go quite so far; 
it smells just like common American dust, to me ; but then I have 
this horrid cold. 

Young Lady. You always were too practical for any use ! I 
can fancy it the sand blown in from the desert, don't you know ! 



126 



WERNER'S READINGS 



Perhaps from where the pyramids and the sphinx are ; stirred up, 
perhaps, by a passing caravansary, or herd of flying gazelles, and a 
swarthy Arab pursuing on a camel, and all that, and very likely a 
stamboul warbling in a banana tree. 

Her Friend. Well, Fve never been married — not but what I've 
had oceans of chances— but if I had, I wouldn't make a tableau of 
myself as those people over there are doing. You'd think they 
were in the middle of a prairie. 

Bride. No, darling ! I don't mind standing, in the least. I can 
lean on you. You don't mind, do you, Charley ? 

Bridegroom. I should say not, tootsy-pootsy ! Here, I'll put 
my arm around you. Did she want a rug ? Well, she shall ! I'll 
bid on that one. Three ! 

Bride. Oh, dearie ! what made you ? It's too big for our room. 

Bridegroom. Well, girlie-pearlie, can't you take a reef in it ? 

Bride. Why, Charley! How it would look ! Besides, I can't 
sew ; it hurts my fingers. 

Young Lady. There ! It's gone, for ten dollars! I'm mad 
enough to cry! 

His Mother. You ought to speak louder, Ferdinand, don't you 
know. I believe we could have got that for seven. 

Ferdinand. I thought you didn't want it. 

His Mother. Well, I didn't. I think it was awfully ugly, but 
I didn't want that long-faced woman over there to get it. She'd, 
made up her mind she'd have it, if the skies fell. Now there's a 
beauty ! 

Ferdinand. What there is left of it. It's mostly tatters and 
moth-holes. It ain't a bit handsomer, now I tell you, than the 
old carpet in onr office. That's just the correct, aesthetic tone ; all 
cigar-ashes and ink-stains. The Governor'd be mighty glad to 
let you have it. Then if you got the smallpox, don't you know, 
you'd know where it came from. 

Bride. Yes, darling, it is very rich and chaste, but green 
wouldn't go with pink satin. It would be horrible. 

Bridegroom. Well, I don't see why one color isn't as good as 
another. Perhaps you don't like my blue trousers and my red 



AND RECITATIONS. 



127 



cravat, combined with my yellow 'Derby. If there's a stylisher 
fellow in our block, I'd like to see him. 

Beide. Charley, how can you suspect me of finding fault ? 
You know I think everything you have and <s«?/and do perfect. We 
never will quarrel, will we, ownie-own ? 

Bridegroom. No, indeed, lovey. Let's get out of this beastly 
hole and go and buy some brand-new, clean matting like my mother 
used to use. 

Bride. Oh, I don't want matting. I don't see why I ought to 
have it, just because your — 

Bridegroom. Well, anything you say. [Exeunt, murmuring.] 

His Mother. I do wish that horrid woman in front would keep 
her umbrella down. Eight! 1 bid eight ! Ten! Oh, why don't 
he look this way ? I must sing out. Ferdinand, you haven't, the 
breath of a mosquito. Twelve! [Stands on her chair. ] 

Ferdinand. Hold on, ma, you'll bankrupt the whole concern. 
You've got five already! 

His Mother. I suppose I have, but it's so exciting. It really 
is a science, isn't it? You have to be so discriminating and judi- 
cious to get real bargains, don't you know. What idiots some of 
those people made of themselves ; making themselves so conspicu- 
ous ! Yes, I'm ready to go. Have you paid for the rugs ? Well, 
the Potters said you have to pay down. Here's a lot of silver I 
want to get rid of. 

Ferdinand. Should think you'd want to, be Jove ! There ain't 
a dollar here that ain't plugged. 

His Mother. I do wish you wouldn't use slang. I can't under- 
stand a word you say. That money's perfectly good, there isn't a 
hole in one of the pieces. 

Ferdinand. But you can't pass a plugged piece, don't you 
know. Where on earth did you get it? 

His Mother. I don't know and I don't care. I don't see what 
odds it makes. You men are so fussy. A dollar's a dollar, isn't it? 
Well, if you must be so unreasonable, here are some bills. 

Young Lady. Say ! Marie ! did you notice that gentleman who 



128 



WERNER'S READINGS 



just went out with his mother? You could tell from his face that 
he was highly cultured. 

Her Friend. Oh, the dear thing! Where is he? Oh yes, 
isn't his back hair sweet ? Well, let's go too. Bother the old rugs; 
where you. going next, — Huyler's ? Well, I've got to take the ele- 
vated. Good-bye ! be sure to have three rows of tucks. [They 
embrace and separated] 



HE SAD FATE OF A POLICEMAN. 



A N officer stood at the crossing one day, 
^ Who with answering questions was tired, 
When a beautiful maiden, passing that way, 
The road to the " ^epo" inquired. 

The weary policeman directed her straight 
To the street through which she should go, 

When an elderly lady, who seemed to be late 
For t'he train, wished to find the " depoe." 

Then a man with his arms full of crockery ware — 

Cups, saucers, a pitcher and teapot — 
Came up and inquired, with an anxious air, 

The most direct route to the " depot." 

Then the officer gave the directions to these, 

Though he was annoyed, it was clear ; 
Then a rustic approached him and said, " If you please, 

Is it far to the ' day^d 9 from here j* 

A man in pursuit of a runaway pair 

Came up, with the speed of a hippo- 
Griff winging its flight through the ambient air, 

Inquiring the way to the " dipipo." 

The officer silently pointed the way ; 

His mind was in sad tribulation, 
For then came an Englishman, asking: "I say, 

Can you tell me the way to tlie station ?" 



AND RECITATIONS. 



129 



The officer's seen at the crossing no more, 
For something's gone wrong in his brain, 

And his family has placed him, his mind to restore, 
In a home for the harmless insane. 

To visit him often his old comrades go, 
And he seems to find some consolation 

In asking them: "Say, is it tZepo, depoe, 
Dip^o, dai/po, depot, or station?" 



A NEW VERSION OF A CERTAIN HIS- 
TORICAL DIALOGUE. 



" EOKGE," said his father, with a countenance more in sorrow 
than in anger, "George, some one has cut down my favorite 
cherry-tree. Do you know anything about it ?" 

Young Washington did not quail before his father's accusing 
glance. He looked him straight in the eye, and an expression of 
honest resolution gleamed in the clear eye and frank countenance. 

"My father," he said, " I will not deceive you. I do know some- 
thing about it, but that is not the issue at all. You have, in effect, 
charged me with being privy to the destruction of your favorite 
tree. Now, the question is, since you have filed information and 
laid this charge against me, what do you know about it?" 

" I know that you have a hatchet," replied the father sternly. 
" I know what a boy with a hatchet is liable to do. I know that 
some one has cut down my favorite cherry-tree — " 

"Stop right there !" interrupted the future father of his country. 
" You say this was your tree ?" 
"I do." 

"How came it yours?" 
" I planted it." 

"Now, sir, are you certain it was not on this farm before you 
came here ?" 



ROBERT J. BURDETTE. 




130 



WERNER'S READINGS 



"ISTo, sir, it was not." 

" Then why did you say so?" 

" Why did I say what B, 

"That's right; evade, quibble, crawl out of it somehow. All 
right. If you don't want to answer a fair, plain, simple question, 
you don't have to." 

" But I didn't say it was on the farm when I came here." 

" Oh, very well, deny it. Is there any other retraction you would 
like to make?" 

" I don't retract anything. I merely declare that I never said 
t*hat tree was on the farm when I came here." 

"Oh, well, father, don't get excited and talk loud. You may go 
back on your entire statement if you wish. Perhaps you will next 
try to make us believe that this farm wasn't here, either, when you 
came." 

" Why, of course it was here. I don't — " 
"Didn't you say, a moment ago, that it was not?" 
" That was the tree !" 

" Ah, yes; you turn it off on the tree now. You've been talk- 
ing about the tree all this time, then?" 
"Why, certainly I have." 

t{ ; Then you just admitted that it was here when you came here ?" 
"No, my son; that was the farm." 

" But not half a dozen questions ago you admitted that. You 
said in these very words : i Why, of course it was here/ did you not ?" 

"I said those words, but I was speaking of the farm." 

"And yet you said but this very moment that all this time you 
had been talking about the tree. It is useless to continue this 
examination. My father, of all human vices lying is the commonest, 
and I doubt not that it is the worst. It blunts our moral sensibili- 
ties; it leads us to distort and exaggerate simple statements of fact; 
it blurs our powers of intelligent observation, until even a man of 
ordinary scholarship and intellectual development is unable to tell 
whether he is talking about a farm or a cherry-tree. The complaint 
is dismissed. I doubt very much if you can even establish the fact 
that you ever owned a tree. Go to the nursery, and if you intend 



AND RECITATIONS. 



131 



planting a tree in the place of the one you imagine you have lost, 
you had better take a man with you to show you the ground, lest 
you might plant the tree in your hat. You may go." 

Sadly the old man turned away, but he told the man who helped 
him plant the new tree that if he had a hundred boys he wouldn't 
let another one of them study law. 



DIFFICULT LOVE-MAKING. 



WILL CARLETOK. 



TL_T E. Ethel, I love you, let it suffice, 

My words are earnest, if not o'ernice. 
'Mid all the century's arts and shams, 
My love is as firm as 
Huckster [in the street]. Soft-shell c-l-a-m-s ! 
He [recovering]. Fie on the villain ! Ethel, my heart 
Is yours forever; we must not part. 
Often my soul, in some lonely spot, 
Reaches for yours, and finds it not; 
And breaks into still, tumultuous sobs — 
Longing— longing for — 
Huckster [in the street]. Crabs an' 1-o-b-s — 

L-o-b-s- t-e-r-s ! 
He [indignantly]. Fie on the sordid wretch, 

Collapsing my speech, with his mouth a-stretch ! 
Ethel, I need, for my heart's repose — 
Voice [in the street]. Cash for ol' clo's — oP clo's, ol' clo's. 
He [tenderly]. If you will be my life heart-friend, 

You shall have always 
Voice [in the street]. B-o-i-l-e-r-s to mend ! 
He [resolutely]. You shall have always love and rest, 

Soothing you through life's varied scenes; 

Safe in our Boston bright home-nest, 
We will e'er live on 



132 



WERNER'S READINGS 



Huckster [in street, shrilly, and in a tone of interrogation]. 

Pork an' b-e-a-n-s ? 
He [despairingly]. Ever 'tis thus. You see I may 

As well talk Greek, or Zulu, or Hindoo; 

Chaos intrudes, whatever I say; 
I will close my speech. 
She [smiling]. Or, perhaps, the window. 



SUPPOSE. 



T. H. ROBERTSOK. 



T^EANK. Suppose, Fadette, that I, instead of keeping tryst 
A With you to-night, had stayed away to dose; 
Or call upon Miss Brandt; or play at whist. 

Suppose — 

Fadette. Suppose you had ! Think you / should have cared ? 

Indeed, ain't you a bit concei — ■ don't take 

My rose — a gift to me. 
Fr. From whom ? 

Fa. Well, Joseph Mead, suppose. 

Fr. Suppose it is. Then I'm to understand, Fadette— 
If I must read your words in plainest prose, 
My presence matters not to you — and — yet 

Suppose— 

Fa. Suppose you are to understand me so ? 

You're free — do if you wish ! And — 

Oh, the river's froze. What skating we shall 

Have to-morrow. We — that's Jose — 
Fr. And Jose be hanged ! It seems to me, Miss 

Lowe, that you are acting rather lightly; rumor 

Goes that he — but since I seem to bore, 

Adieu. Suppose — 



AND RECITATIONS. 



133 



Fa. Suppose we say good-night — 

Good-night, sir, and good-bye. 
Fr. What does this mean, Fadette ? Are you — 
Fa. We'll close this scene at once. 

My words are plain, sir, I suppose. 
Fe. Compose yourself, Fadette. 
Fa. My name, sir, is Miss Lowe. 

Fr. Come, come, Fadette, do look beyond your nose — 

Fa. Here is your ring ! 

Fr. I take it, though, suppose — 

Fa. Suppose you do, sir, — you — 

Fr. Enough, Miss Lowe, farewell ! 'Tis best ! Fve been deceived 
in you, God knows. 
Coquette ! a heartless flirt ! a haughty belle, who chose — 
Fa. Suppose — oh ! oh, let's part as friends ! I hate you, there ! 
Fr. Fadette ! in tears ? This surely shows you'll pardon me — 
Fa. And — Frank — we'll ne'er suppose. 



DIFFERENT WAYS OF SAYING YES. 



Dramatis Persona: Miss Belle; Dr. Twist; Pupils. 
Time : The noon intermission. 

TY/I -B* Good-morning, Dr. Twist, Fm sure it is a pity 

My school is just dismissed, since you are school committee. 
Dr. T. Never mind, my dear Miss Belle, another time will do; 

I like it just as well to make my call on you. 
Miss B. Loss to my girls and boys, but I shall be the winner; 

You must excuse their noise, so many stay to dinner. 
Be seated, Doctor. 
Dr. T. Thanks; have you a pleasant place? 

Miss B. Oh, yes ! I like the teacher's ranks — I shall serve here all 
my days. 



134 



WERNER'S READINGS 



De. T. Perhaps not so, Miss Belle, it maj ere long be noted 
You fill this place so well you ought to be promoted. 
How do you find your school ? 
Miss B. Oh, Doctor, they are queer ! 

They do pronounce so strangely, out in the country here. 
For instance, it is funny, you'd think so too, I guess, 
The many different ways they have of saying "yes." 
De. T. Call them, and questions ask, my interest is up. 
Miss B. John Jones, your morning task, — have you performed it ? 

" Tup !" 

Ha, ha ! here is another, that little Dutchman raw: 
Peter Bogle, is your mother any better ! 

" Yaw r 

De. T. Ask next that black-eyed gipsy that stands the window near. 
Miss B. Bessie Lee, do you like apples, would you like to have one ? 

"Yeah!" 

I'll call my little Pat, who is never known to miss; 
Do you love your books, my lad ? Tell me truly ! 

" Faix ma'am, yis!" 
Come here, you curly pate, do you want to be a mayor, 
Or a president, or anything so great as a school committee? 

"A-er!" 

They give us so much fun they certainly repay us. 
Kate, is your problem done ? Have you the answer ? 

"A-us!" 
Is it not a curious class, a comic recitation? 
De. T. Yes; and it surely has my official approbation. 
Will you my pupil be, while I a question ask ? 
Will you pronounce for me, if I give you a task ? 
Miss B. Of course, if all the rest have not been fully ample, 

I'll do my best to please with my example. 
De. T. I came to seek a wife. If now my suit I press, 

Will you leave your school for life ? What is your answer ? 
MissB. * "Yes/" 



AND RECITATIONS. 



A TWILIGHT PASTORAL. 



T/" ATIE takes her milking-pail, 

And to the meadows trips along; 
As sunbeams slant adown the vale, 
She sweetly sings her milking-song: 
"Heigho! heigho! a-milking I go / 
Come Sjjot and come Bonnie, 
Come Brindle, come Brownie, 
The sun fast is si7iki7ig, 
The bright stars are blinking, 
Come to me, my darlings, 
'Tis Katie who calls !" 
The meadows in the gold rain glisten, 
The cricket stops his chirp to listen, 

As o'er the grass the sweet voice rings, — 
And lo ! high on the topmost spray 

A robin gaily sings. *■ 

Colin hears the sweet voice call, 

And sees the kine go lowing to her; 
No call for him— and yet he goes ! 
Ah, twilight is the time to woo he- ! 
" Heigho / heigho ! a-milking I </u ; 
Come Spot and come Bonnie, 
Come Brindle, come Brownie, 
The sun fast is sinking, 
The bright stars are blinking, 
Come to me, my darlings, 
9 Tis Katie who calls !" 
So Colin leans upon the bars 
And wooeth Kate, until the stars 

Shine through the haze the twilight brings* 
And still upon the topmost spray 
The robin gaily sings. 




WERNER'S READINGS 



The years roll on, the summers go, 
The grass springs green, the waters flow, 
And Katie, gray, with Colin sitting — ■ 
He with his pipe, she with her knitting- — 
As twilight shadows trooping throng, 
Hears another Katie's song, 
And sees, within the meadows fair, 
Another Colin wooing there: 

" Heiglio ! heigho ! a-milking I go; 
Come 8pot and come Bonnie, 
Come Brindle, come Brownie, 
The sun is fast sinking, 
The bright stars are blinking, 
Come to me, my darlings, 
9 Tis Katie who calls I" 



WHAT HE" WOULD GIVE UP. 



XX J HEN mamma said, ''Now, children dear, 

: Y You know that it is Lent; 
Some blessing you should sacrifice, 
Which Heaven to you has sent/' 
Our ten-year-old made haste to say, 

" You promised me a dress, 
And I say I will give that up, 
'Twill be enough, I guess." 

" Well, I love sugar in my tea, 

Three lumps, and sometimes four; 
If I agree to go without, 

You could not ask for more," 
Said number two, with thoughtful face 

And wisely nodding head, 
While number three was thinking fast, 

Our roguish little Fred. 




AND RECITATIONS. 



137 



"I want to div up sumfin' big, 

'Tause I ain't very dood, 
But when my fings was div to me, 

I touldn't if I would." 
Then, while his bright eyes shone like stars, 

With manner calm and cool, 
He said, " I fink dat I will try 

An' div up doin' to school." 



MY FIRST SCHOOL. 

T WAS a normal graduate, brimful of methods and with no ex- 
* perience. This was my first school, and I had come with a 
trunkful of crowded blank-books, a diploma, and an immense 
amount of confidence in how I was to proceed. Well, the bell rang, 
and in filed forty of the wildest, dirtiest, roughest-looking little 
boys you ever saw. My committeeman had told me that there 
would be something of a rough element. However, I was not to be 
discouraged. Had I not been told at the normal how many a rude, 
uncultured waif had, by the untiring patience and the influence of 
his teacher, come to be a noble mcji — a president perchance? All 
this I recalled as my prospective presidents tumbled, punched, and 
pushed each other into their chairs. Taking advantage of a 
moment's pause while the boys were making a mental estimate of 
my muscle, I opened school and drew forth my record-book, remem- 
bering that my normal book said, " Get the love of your children. 
Get them to feel that you really need them." So I said, with my 
sweetest smile: "Now, boys, you are strangers to me. I do not 
even know your names, so first I want you to help me learn them. 
You will please answer as I call the roll : 

"Jack McKinney." 

"Prisint." [Loud.] 

"James Haley." 

"Prisint." [Louder,] 

"Joe Gallagher." 

"He's got to pitch in wood." [Very loud.] 



138 



WERNERS READINGS 



" Patrick Shannon." 

" There's five Pats in this class, tacher." 

[Rise and shake the hand lustily.] 

"Away with yer now, there's only four." 

" An' yer lyin'." 

"Ther's five." 

" Ther's four." 

" Ther's five." 

« Ther's four." 

In this short time I had learned that child-nature is not always 
what books picture it to be. Then seizing upon a boy whose flying 
missiles had just grazed my head, I said: "McKinney, what have 
you under your desk ?•" 

"I've a herring, ma'am." 

" Bring that herring to me. Where did you get that herring?" 
<( At the store, ma'am." 

"At the store! What in the world did you get that vile thing 
for?" 

" For a cint, ma'am," was the ready answer. 

Now I had planned to have a written exercise that morning on 
" bones," and although my faith in child-nature was considerably 
diminished, I resolved to carry it through. My exercises were 
unique, at least. Here is McKinney's own as he read it before the 
school : 

"Bcwes. 

"Bones is the framework of the body. If I had no bones in me I 
should not have so much shape as I have now. If I had no bones 
in me I should not have so much motion, and tacher would be glad. 
But I like to have motion. Bones give me motion, because they are 
something hard for motion to cling to. If I had no bones in me, 
me brains, lungs, heart, and larger blood-vessels would be lying 
around in me and might get hurted. But now me bones get 
hurted, but not much, unless it is a hard hit. If me bones were 
burned I should be brittle, because it would take the animal out of 
me. If I was soaked in acid I should be limber. Tacher showed 
us a bone that had been soaked. I should rather be soaked than 
burned. Some of me bones don't grow close to me others. I am 



AND RECITATIONS. 



139 



glad that they don't grow snug like the branches of a tree, for if they 
did I could not play leap-frog and other good games I know. The 
reason they don't grow that way is because they have joints. Joints 
is good things to have in bones. There are two kinds. The ball 
and the socket joint like my shoulder is the best. Tacher showed 
it to me, only it was the thigh of a cow. One end was hollowed in 
deep. That is the socket, and it oils itself. It is the only machine 
that oils itself. Another joint is the hinge-joint, like my elbow. It 
swings back and forth, and it oils itself. It never creaks like the 
school door. There is another joint that don't seem much }ike a 
joint. That is the skull. All my bones put together in their right 
places make a skeleton. If I leave out any or put any in wrong 
places it ain't no skeleton. Some animals have their skeletons on 
their outsides. I am glad I ain't them animals, for me skeleton, 
like it is on the school chart, wouldn't look well on me outsides." 



THE INNOCENT DRUMMER. 



WITH RECITATION" LESSON-HELPS BY FRED WLNSLOW ADAMS. 



Act I. — The Parting. 

" 1\/f ^ l° ve > m y on ly one ! The time will soon be here when I shall 
be in a position to snap my fingers at fate and set up as my 
own boss. Then we shall have no more of these cruel partings." 
"And you will be true to me, love ?" 

"As I always am. By the way, you did not forget to put that 
photo you had taken especially for me into my gripsack, did you ?" 

"Oh dear, no; are you sure you will look at it sometimes, love ?" 

"You wicked little doubter! you know I should be wretched 
without at least such a precious semblance of my darling one to 
look at daily, nightly." 

Draw the veil of charity over his grief, and the treachery of one 
in whom he had such unbounded confidence. In brief, she, his 
only love, his pet, his wife, had secretly planned to make him 
wretched. She had taken that photograph from his gripsack, and 



140 



WERNER'S READINGS 



was gloating over his misery when he should discover that only 
memory remained to him, for the time being, of his darling's looks. 

" The dear fellow, how he will scold me for the trick; but I will 
send him the photo just as soon as I hear from him." 

Thus appeasing her conscience she waited for his first letter. It 
came from Chicago. With eagerness she broke the seal and read : 

"My Heart's Delight: Got here 0. K. this a.m. Have been 
wrestling with the trade all day, and a tough time I've had of it! 
Weary and fagged, I have retired to my room, shut out the gilded 
atmosphere of sin that envelops this terrible city, and taken from 
my satchel your sweet picture. It is before me as I write. I shall 
kiss it when I have said my evening prayers. It will rest under my 
pillow. It is my one solace until I hold you, my darling one, in 
these faithful arms again." 

Thus far she read, and toppled over on to the floor. What conso- 
lation she found there it would be hard to say; but a great deter- 
mination rose with the stricken wife, who went out an hour later 
and sought a telegraph office. 

Act II. — The Drummer m Chicago. 

The drummer had been saying his prayers abroad on this partic- 
ular evening, and arriving at his hotel about midnight, tired and 
exhausted, he was startled at finding a telegram from his only love. 
It was indeed a rude shock to his spiritual emotions. He was not 
in the habit of receiving such swift replies from his pet, but one 
could not expect an outraged wife to transmit her feelings by the 
slow mail. He read the dispatch: 

" You are no longer the only drummer that is not a liar, as you 
have always claimed. Let the fraternity make you their chief in 
the art. Had you taken the pains even to look for the photo you 
say your prayers to, you would have discovered that I had, to tease 
you, removed it. My faith in you is dead, dead!" 

"What the dickens did I write her anyway? By Jove! I 
must have been piling on the taffy. That's what a man gets for 
trying to make a woman feel good ! Poor little dear, what a fume 
she must be in ! Lucky for me she gave her grievance away. 



AND RECITATIONS. 



141 



dear, what geese these women are. anyway. Bless her little noddle, 
her faith in me shall be resurrected." 

Forthwith he telegraphed to a knowing friend: 

"Send me first mail photo of my wife. Beg, borrow, steal it 
somehow. Mum's the word. Will write particulars." 

Act III. — The Betukn - . 

About a week later a drummer, in dignified martyrdom, stood 
face to face with a stern but very wept-out wife. She had expected 
to find him meek and humble, but he gazed upon her with scorn, 
and passed to his room in silence. With* quick impulse she fol- 
lowed, thanking Heaven he had not locked her out. After sur- 
veying him a few moments, she opened fire : 

" Well, what have you to say for yourself ?" 

"I?" 

"Yes, you." 

" woman, were it not for the overmastering love I bear you, 
I should never look upon you more !" 

" Can you explain the deception you tried to practice upon me ?" 

" Can you obliterate the insult put upon your husband in that 
unwomanly dispatch ? A woman with so little confidence in her 
husband had better live alone. For my part, I am not only dis- 
gusted but disenchanted I" 

She holds the letter before his eyes: "Bead that! Knowing 
you had no picture of mine, what was I to think ?" 

"What any intelligent, right-minded wife would have thought. 
You should have said: ' My husband is incapable of deceit — he has 
my picture somehow/" 

"But you did not have it!" 

"0 woman, without an atom of faith!" He produced the 
photograph. 

"0 darling, forgive me! You did have my picture, didn't you? 
This old thing, taken long before we were engaged! Why, I didn't 
know you ever had one of these." 

The restored confidence caused the pretty blue eyes to swim in 
tearful joy. She threw her arms about his neck, begging his par- 
don, and caressing his coat-collar 



142 



WERNER'S READINGS 



" My dear, let this be a warning. Never doubt me in the future. 
No matter what appearances may be, remember I can always look 
you squarely in the eyes and say, ' I am innocent/ " 

And she believed him! 



RECITATION LESSON-HELPS. 

While gesture and emphasis depend upon the reader's interpre- 
tation of a selection rather than upon any fixed rules, yet often- 
times suggestions may help to an interpretation of the author's 
meaning; and in a dramatic piece directions may be quite essential 
to a proper interpretation with regard to presenting it before an 
audience. In this light I offer the following suggestions. 

Act I. — Announce your selection with what explanation you see 
fit. Then walk rapidly down stage, right, with both arms extended. 
Clasping the hands of your supposed wife, exclaim: "My love, my 
only one!" etc., and the selection is opened. At the conclusion of 
the speech " Then we shall have no more of these cruel partings," 
gently place your right arm about her. The drummer is a little 
affected in his devotion, and you should suggest this by tone and 
manner. 

His wife looks up tenderly, as if snuggled in his arms, with a shy 
witchery in her eye as she says : "And you will be true to me, love ?" 

In reading the letter, make your delight at hearing from your 
husband apparent, and also the eagerness to know what he has to 
say about the photo. Some comments as you read along will 
heighten the effect, as adding after reading the line "and a tough 
time I've had of it," the words "Poor fellow!" and again after the 
line "which envelopes this terrible city," "the dear boy!" continu- 
ing "and taken from my satchel ," — look puzzled and repeat, "and 
taken from my satchel, your sweet picture." Read the rest slowly, 
emphatically, at first somewhat bewildered, but increasing in speed 
and emphasis as the truth dawns at the climax, "until I hold you 
in these faithful arms again." With these words crush the letter 
in the left hand, in which you have been holding it, throw the right 
hand to your head in despair, and stagger backward. A slight 
scream would not be too much. Then step forward to your audi- 



AND RECITATIONS. 



143 



ence, and with a suggestive smile say, " Thus far she read and top- 
pled over," etc. 

Act II. — The drummer reads the telegram in more of a careless 
manner. You might give a low whistle after the first sentence. 
As you conclude reading the dispatch, drop the head, run your 
fingers into your hair, and say meditatively : " AVhat the dickens 
did I write her anyway ?" Walk up and down the stage meditat- 
ing, and suddenly break into a laugh as you exclaim, " By Jove! 
I must have been piling on the taffy," and finish in a gay vein. 

Act III. — She follows her husband into his room. Look at him; 
let the muscles of the mouth twitch, and finally say, "Well!" 
Wait as if expecting an answer; and when none comes, make an- 
other effort : " What have you to say for yourself ?" Her courage 
at this point is somewhat wavering. The drummer turns his head 
toward her and says, sarcastically, " I ?" The answer comes with 
more determination, " Yes, you." 

In his retort a little later, which closes with the words, "For my 
part I am not only disgusted but disenchanted," turn away and 
bow the face in the hands. As the drummer, keep cool and speak 
calmly but with force; you are playing a part and know your 
ground; but as the wife, you must appear agitated, nervous, and 
irritable, which comes to a climax in the response: "But you did 
not have it." This is her last stroke. Then, as the drummer, you 
hand the photograph to your wife, as the text suggests. 

Her anguish is nOw at an end. Come forward with extreme ani- 
mation, throw your arms about your husband's neck, " darling, 
forgive me," etc. As the drummer replies with mild but loving 
reproach, he should look squarely into his wife's eyes, and end on 
the words "I am innocent," with extreme dignity. Then turn to 
your audience, and, with a significant smile and shrug of the shoul- 
ders, end the selection, "And she believed him!" 



144 



WERNER'S READINGS 



ON THE BEACH. 



T_J E. Belle, Fve sought you all the morning; 
I return to town to-day; 
Pardon if I give no warning, 
There is something I must say. 

She. Sought so long! You must be weary! 
Are you ill? You look quite pale; 
When you go life will be dreary! 
Well, I'm ready for your tale. 

He. I can keep it back no longer. 

Belle, I need you in my life; 
Will is strong, but love far stronger; 
Dear one, will you be my wife ? 

She. Be your wife ? Your words seem braver 
Than they seemed in days of yore ; 
But your love would surely waver 
Now, as then. Please say no more. 

He. Ah, you jest! Though once I faltered, 
Failed your heart to comprehend, 
Never once my feelings altered, 
Not alone did I offend. 

She. Was I fickle in those hours ? 

Ah, perhaps 'twas better so; 
'Mid the score that owned your powers, 
My poor heart was quite de trop I 

He. So it ends, then ? I have spoken 
Words that live until I die; 
And you smile while hearts are broken! 
Belle, God bless you, dear! Good-bye! 



AND RECITATIONS. 



145 



She. Good-bye ? I could always tease you ! 
Take my hand before you go; 
And/ if it would really please you, 
Keep it, Jack, for weal or woe. 



WAR'S SACRIFICE. 

TT was after the din of the battle 

A Had ceased in the silence and gloom, 

"When hushed was the musketry's rattle, 

And quiet the cannon's deep boom. 
The smoke of the conflict had lifted, 

And drifted away from the sun, 
While the soft crimson light, slowly fading from sight. 

Flashed back from each motionless gun. 

The tremulous notes of a bugle 

Rang out on the clear autumn air, 
And the echoes caught back from the mountains 

Faint whispers, like breathings of prayer. 
The arrows of sunlight that slanted 

Through the trees touched a brow white as snow, 
On the bloody sod lying 'mid the dead and the dying, 

And it flushed in the last parting glow. 

The dark crimson tide, slowly ebbing, 

Stained red the light jacket of gray; 
But another in blue sadly knelt by his side 

And watched the life passing away. 
Said the jacket in gray: "I've a brother — 

Joe Turner, he lives up in Maine. 
Give him these, and say my last message 

Was forgiveness." Here a low moan of pain 
Checked his voice. Then: <f You'll do me this favor. 

For you shot me;" and his whispers sank low. 
Said the jacket in blue: " Brother Charley, 

There's no need, I'm your brother, I'm Joe." 



WERNER'S READINGS 



DAWN ON THE IRISH COAST. 



H' ANAM THO' DIAH! but there it is, 



The dawn on the hills of Ireland! 
God's angels lifting the night's black veil 
From the fair, sweet face of my sire-land! 

Ireland, isn't it grand you look, 
Like a bride in her rich adorning 

And with all the pent-up love of my heart 
I bid you the top o' the mornin\ 

Ho — ho! upon Cliona's shelving strand, 

The surges are grandly beating, 
And Kerry is pushing her headlands out 

To give us the kindly greeting; 
Into the shore the sea-birds fly 

On pinions that know no drooping; 
And out from the cliffs, with welcome charged- 

A million of waves come trooping. 

0, kindly, generous Irish land, 

So leal and fair and loving, 
No wonder the wandering Celt should think 

And dream of you in his roving! 
The alien home may have gems and gold, 

Shadows may never have gloomed it, 
But the heart will sigh for the absent land, 

Where the love-light first illumed it. 

And doesn't old Cove look charming there, 
Watching the wild waves' motion, 

Leaning her back against the hills, 
And the tips of her toes in the ocean ? 

1 wonder I don't hear Shandon's bells! 



JOHN LOCKE. 




AND RECITATIONS. 



Ah, maybe their chiming's over, 
For it's many a year since I began 
The life of a Western rover. 

This one short hour pays lavishly back 

For many a year of mourning; 
Fd almost venture another flight, 

There's so much joy in returning — 
Watching out for the hallowed shore, 

All other attractions scornin'; 

Ireland, don't you hear me shout ? 
I bid you the top o' the mornin'. 

For thirty summers, asthore machree, 

Those hills I now feast my eyes on 
Ne'er met my vision, save when they rose 

Over Memory's dim horizon. 
Even so, 'twas grand and fair they seemed 

In the landscape spread before me; 
But dreams are dreams, and my eyes would ope 

To see Texas' skies still o'er me. 

An ! often upon the Texan plains, 

When the day and the chase were over, 
My thoughts would fly o'er the weary wave, 

And around this coast-line hover; 
And the prayer would rise that, some future day. 

All danger and doubtings scornin', 
Fd help to win my native land 

The light of young Liberty's mornin'. 

Now fuller and truer the shore-line shows- 
Was ever a scene so splendid ? 

1 feel the breath of the Munster breeze; 
Thank God that my exile's ended. 

Old scenes, old songs, old friends again, 

The vale and cot I was born in ! 
Ireland, up from my heart of hearts 

I bid you the top o' the mornin' I 



148 



WERNERS READINGS 



PAT'S PERPLEXITY. 



"DAT MUEPHY had been on a fishing excursion, and after re- 
turning to land met one of his friends, who inquired of him 
what luck he had. 

u Oh," he replied, u we had a most illigant time." 

" Who were of your party ? " asked his friend. 

" There wur five of us. There was mesilf, one ; two Scrogginses, 
two; Terry Toole, three; Jim Kasin, four. But there wur five of 
us, anyhow. Let — me — see. There was Jim Kasin, one; an' 
Terry Toole, two; an' mesilf, three; an' the two Scrogginses, 
four. Faith! an' it's strange that I can't remember the fifth man! 
Now then — there's mesilf, that's one; Jim Kasin, that's two; and 
the two Scrogginses, that's three; an' Terry Toole, do ye see, that's 
four; an' — an' may St. Patrick fly away with me if I can find the 
fifth man, at all, at all!" 



THIKHED'S NEW YEAR'S CALL. 



E. THIKHED called on Miss Brightlooks last Monday, and, 
from the following conversation, must have enjoyed his visit: 
Said Miss Brightlooks : "1 was out in company recently and met 
three or four strangers." 

"Was the president or the treasurer present?" Mr. Thikhed 
replied. 

" Why, what do you mean?" 

" Well, you spoke about a company, and as every company has 
officers, I thought maybe some of them were there." 

" Why, I am sure I expressed myself clearly for any ordinary in- 
tellect, but if you comprehend my idea better in other language, let 
me say, as simply as possible, that I was one of a number who had 
gathered for the purpose of amusement." 



AND RECITATIONS. 



149 



" In this you differed from a rolling-stone which does not gather. 
But you have not told me yet what you gathered. Did you omit a 
word ?" 

" No, I didn't and I repeat that we had all assembled to spend 
a pleasant evening." 

" Hadn't you any money ?" 

" Money ! What has that to do with the case ?" 

"Well, I thought you must have been hard up if you had to 
spend the evening. It is scarcely to be wondered at, however, so 
soon after Christmas." 

" I had a lovely compliment paid to me on that same occasion." 

"Did you receive it in trade dollars or greenbacks?" 

" Did I receive what in trade dollars or greenbacks ?" 

" Why, the compliment, to be sure. You said it was paid to you." 

" Well, really, Mr. Thikhed, New Year has had the effect of 
clouding your brain. W^hat I meant to say was that some one made 
a very nice remark about me." 

"Indeed! What was it made of, silk or satin, or perhaps Maid 
of Orleans ?" 

"I don't think there is much use trying to explain matters to 
you. The more I talk, the less you grasp my thoughts." 
" I never take anything that does not belong to me." 
"Who said you did ?" 

"No one in particular; only if I grasped your thoughts, that 
would be theft, for your thoughts are certainly your own property, 
even if they are not worth more than a penny." 

"You evidently put a low estimate on my mental calibre." 

" I am not an appraiser." 

"Who said anything about an appraiser ?" 

"Why, you were speaking about how much I think your brain is 
worth, and I repeat that I am not in the business of placing values 
on objects." 

Just then the cuckoo cuckooed eleven times, whereupon Miss 
Brightlooks said : " Mr. Thikhed, I want to tell you something 
funny that happened the other evening, but you must promise not 
to be offended." 



150 



WERNER'S READINGS 



" How could I be off ended at anything you say ?" 

"Well, then, I had a gentleman caller, and when he had remained 
about as late as this, papa called down from upstairs, ' Please ask 
Mr. Lad-de-dah whether he prefers toast or omelets for breakfast/" 

" Which did he take ?" 

" He didn't take either; he left just about that time." 

" He-he ! I didn't see anything comical about the story at first, 
but now I see the point. The idea of his refusing anything as good 
as toast or omelets. That was indeed real funny. He-he! Now 
if the choice had been left to me, I should certainly have taken the 
omelets." 

" Well, I can tell Susan to prepare some and bring them in for 
you if you like." 

"But this isn't breakfast-time!" 

" Oh, I beg your pardon; I had forgotten for a moment that it 
is only a little after eleven." 

"Well, I believe I shall have to go. Good-night, Miss Bright- 
looks." 

"Good-night, Mr. Thikhed; see that you don't slip on the ice." 



MR. AND MRS. POPPERMAN. 



" A/T^ dear," sa ^ Mrs. Popperman to her husband one evening, 
"I was looking over a bundle of old letters to-day, and I 
found this one which you wrote to me before we were married, 
when you were young and sentimental." 
" What does it say ?" 

"I'll read it: ' Sweet idol of my lonely heart: If thou wilt place 
thy hand in mine and say " Dear love, I'll be thy bride," we'll fly 
away to some far realm — we'll fly to sunny Italy, and 'neath soft, 
cerulean skies we'll bask and sing and dream of naught but love. 
Rich and costly paintings by old masters shall adorn the walls of 
the castle I'll give thee. Thy bath shall be of milk. A box at the 
opera shall be at thy command, and royalty shall be thy daily visi- 
tor. Sweet strains of music shall lull thee at eventide, and war- 



AND RECITATIONS. 



151 



bling birds shall wake thee from thy morning slumber. Dost thou 
accept? Say yes, and fly with me/ And I flew. But if I had 
been as fly as I am now, I wouldn't have flown." 
"Why not, dear?" 

"Why not? Have you done as you promised in that letter? 
When we were married, did we ' fly to sunny Italy and bask 'neath 
soft, cerulean skies/ or did we go to Jersey and spend two weeks 
fishing for eels on the edge of the wharf?" 

« Well, yes." 

" And how about the pictures ? You know very well that every 
rich and costly painting in this house is a chromo from the tea 
store." 

"Well?" 

"'Thy bath shall be of milk/ Do I bathe in milk, or isn't it 
like pulling teeth every morning to get ten cents out of you to buy 
milk for the baby?" 

"Kinder." 

" ' Royalty shall be thy daily visitor/ The only daily visitors I 
have are the book-agents and clam -peddlers." 
" 'Taint my fault." 

'" Sweet strains of music shall lull thee at eventide.' The only 
chance I have to listen to sweet strains of music is when you and I 
go out walking at night and follow a monkey and hand-organ around 
the block." 

" Oh, I am so sleepy." 

"I don't care if you are. Where are the warbling birds you 
promised me ? I hear Mrs. Maginnis's crowing roosters next door 
every morning. Perhaps they are what you meant." 

" Well, never mind." 

" But I will mind. I was to have a box at the opera. Where is 
it ? The only time I go to the opera is when you get a bill-poster's 
tickets to the dime museum." 

" It's too bad." 

" It is really too bad. And then you said we'd talk and dream 
of naught but love. Since I married you we've talked and dreamt 
of naught but rent." 



WERNER'S READINGS 



STREET CRIES. 

*T^HE Englishman's waked by the lark, 

A-singing far up in the sky ; 
But a damsel with wheel-baritone, 

Pitched fearfully high, 

Like a lark in the sky, 

Wakes me with a screech 

Of "Horse Red-dee-ee-eech!" 

The milkman, he crows in the morn, 

And then the street cackle begins: 
Junkman with cow-bells, and fish in an with norn 3 
And venders of brushes and pins, 
And menders of tubs and tins. 
"Wash-tubs to mend!" "Tinware to mend!" 
Oh! who will deliverance send ? 
Hark! that girl is beginning her screech: 
" Horse—" '? —tubs" " Ripe peach—" 

Then there's " — ranges," " Glass topu tin," 
And bagpipes, and peddlers, and shams; 

The hand-organizer is mixing his din 

With " Strawber— " " Nice sof clams!" 
" Wash-tubs to mend," " Tinware to mend!" 
Oh! Heaven deliverance send! 
I'd swear if it wasn't a sin, 
By " — any woo-ood?" " Glasstoputin!" 

^ Ice-cream!" I'm sure that you do! 

And madly the whole town is screaming, 
« Pie apples!" " Shedders!" '< Oysters!" and " Blue- 

Berries!" with "Hot corn all steaming!" 
"Umbrell's to mend!" My head to mend! 

How swiftly I'd like to send 



AND RECITATIONS. 



153 



To — somewhere — this rackety crew, 
That keep such a cry and hue 
Of "Hot—" "Wash-tubs!" and "Pop- 
Corn balls I" — O corn-bawler, stop ! 
From morning till night the street's full of hawkers 
Of "North River shad !" and "Ba-nan-i-yoes !" 
Of men and women, and little girl squawkers — 
"Ole hats and boots ! Qle clo'es !" 
"Times, Tribune and Worruld!" 
"Here's yer morning Hurrold !" 
What a confounded din 
Of "Horse red—" "— toputin !" 
"Ripe—" "Oysters/' and "Potatoes—" "to mend !" 
Till the watchman's late whistle comes in at the end. 



THE FIREMAN. 

R. T. CONRAD. 



(A recitation in concert for eight girls, dressed in white skirts, red waists, 
and red caps or turbans.) 

THE city slumbers. O'er its mighty walls 
Night's dusky mantle, soft and silent, falls; 
Sleep o'er the world slow waves its wand of lead, 
And ready torpors wrap each sinking h^ad. 
Stilled is the stir of labor and of life; 
Hushed is the hum and tranquillized the strife. 
Man is at rest, with all his hopes and fears : 
The young forget their sports, the old their cares; 
The grave are careless; those who joy or weep, 
All rest contented on the arm of sleep. 

Sweet is the pillowed rest of beauty now, 
And slumber smiles upon her tranquil brow; 
Her bright dreams lead her to the moonlit tide, 
Her heart's own partner wandering by her side. 



WERNER'S READINGS 



'Tis a summer's eve ; the soft gales scarcely rouse 
The low-voiced ripple and the rustling boughs ; 
And faint and far some minstrel's melting tone 
Breathes to her heart a music like its own. 

When hark ! oh, horror ! what a crash is there ! 

What shriek is that which fills the midnight air? 

'Tis " Fire I Fire / " She wakes to dream no more ! 

The hot blast rushes through the blazing door ; 

The dim smoke eddies round ; and hark ! that cry : 

« Help ! help ! Will no one aid ? I die— I die !" 

She seeks the casement; shuddering at its height 

She turns again; the fierce flames mock her flight; 

Along the crackling stairs they fiercely play, 

And roar, exulting, as they seize their prey. 

" Help ! help ! Will no one come ?" She says no more, 

But, pale and breathless, sinks upon the floor. 

Will no one save thee? Yes, there yet is one 

Remains to save, when hope itself is gone; 

When all have fled, when all but he would fly, 

The fireman comes, to rescue or to die ! 

He mounts the stair — it wavers 'neath his tread; 

He seeks the room, flames flashing round his head ; 

He bursts the door, he lifts her prostrate frame. 

The fire-blast smites him with its stifling breath, 

The falling timbers menace him with death, 

The sinking floors his hurried steps betray, 

And ruin crashes round his desperate way; 

Hot smoke obscures — ten thousand cinders rise — 

Yet still he staggers forward with his prize. 

He leaps from burning stair to stair. On ! on ! 

Courage ! One effort more, and all is won ! 

The stair is passed, the blazing hall is braved. 

Still on ! Yet on ! Once more ! Thank Heaven, she's saved. 



AND RECITATIONS. 



HER FIFTEEN MINUTES 



TOM MASSON. 



A T exactly fifteen minutes to eight 
- His step was heard at the garden gate. 

And then, with heart that was light and gay, 
He laughed to himself in a jubilant way, 

And rang the bell for the maiden trim 
Who'd promised to go to the play with him; 

And told the servant, with joyous air, 
To say there was fifteen minutes to spare. 

And then for fifteen minutes he sat 
In the parlor dim, and he held his hat, 

And waited and sighed for the maiden trim 
Who'd promised to go to the play with him, 

Until, as the clock overhead struck eight, 

He muttered : " Great Scott ! it is getting late;" 

And took a turn on the parlor floor,- 
And waited for fifteen minutes more; 

And thought of those seats in the front parquet. 
And midnight came, and the break of day; 

That day and the next, and the next one, too. 
He sat and waited the long hours through. 

Then time flew on and the years sped by, 
And still he sat, with expectant eye 

And lengthening beard, for the maiden trim 
Who'd promised to go to the play with him ; 

Until one night, as with palsied hand 
He sat in the chair, for he couldn't stand, 



WERNER'S READINGS 



And drummed in an aimless way, she came 
And opened the door with her withered frame. 

The moon's bright rays touched the silvered hair 
Of her who had fifteen minutes to spare. 

And then in tones that he strained to hear, 

She spoke, and she said: " Are you ready, dear ?" 



HOW SALVATOR WON. 



ELLA WHEELER WILCOX. 



[The pronunciation is Salva'tor.] 
HP HE gate was thrown open, I rode out alone, 

More proud than a monarch who sits on a throne. 
I am but a jockey, but shout upon shout 
Went up from the people who watched me ride out. 
And the cheers that rang forth from that warm-hearted crowd 
Were as earnest as those to which monarch e'er bowed. 

My heart thrilled with pleasure so keen it was pain 

As I patted my Salvator's soft silken mane; 

And a sweet shiver shot from his hide to my hand 

As we passed by the multitude down to the stand. 

The great waves of cheering came billowing back, 

As the hoofs of brave Tenny ran swift down the track; 

And he stood there beside us, all bone and all muscle, 

Our noble opponent, well trained for the tussle 

That waited us there on the smooth, shining course. 

My Salvator, fair to the lovers of horse, 

As a beautiful woman is fair to man's sight — 

Pure type of the thoroughbred, clean limbed and bright, — 

Stood taking the plaudits as only his due 

And nothing at all unexpected or new. 

And then, there before us the bright flag is spread, 
There's a roar from the grand stand, and Tenny's anead : 



AND RECITATIONS. 



At the sound of the voices that shouted "A go!" » 
He sprang like an arrow shot straight from the bow. 
I tighten the reins on Prince Charlie's great son, 
He is off like a rocket, the race is begun. 
Half-way down the furlong their heads are together, 
Scarce room 'twixt their noses to wedge in a feather, 
Past grand stand, and judges, in neck-to-neck strife : 
Ah, Salvator, boy! 'tis the race of your life. 

I press my knees closer, I coax him, I urge, 
I feel him go out with a leap and a surge ; 
I see him creep on, inch by inch, stride by stride, 
While backward, still backward, falls Tenny beside. 
We are nearing the turn, the first quarter is passed — 
'Twixt leader and chaser the daylight is cast: 
The distance elongates, still Tenny sweeps on, 
As graceful and free-limbed and swift as a fawn. 
His awkwardness vanished, his muscles all strained — 
A noble opponent, well born and well trained. 
\ 

I glanced o'er my shoulder: hah, Tenny, the cost 
Of that one second's flagging, will be — the race lost ; 
One second's weak yielding of courage and strength, 
And the daylight between us has doubled its length. 
The first mile is covered, the race is mine — no ! 
For the blue blood of Tenny responds to a blow. 
He shoots through the air like a ball from a gun, 
And the two lengths between us are shortened to one. 

My heart is contracted, my throat feels a lump, 

For Tenny's long neck is at Salvator's rump, 

And now with new courage, grown bolder and bolder, 

I see him once more running shoulder to shoulder. 

With knees, hands, and body I press my grand steed ; 

I urge him, I coax him, I pray him to heed! 

Salvator! Salvator ! List to my calls, 

For the blow of my whip will hurt both if it falls. 



158 



WERNER'S READINGS 



There's a roar from the crowd like the ocean in storm, 

As close to my saddle leaps Tenny's great form ; 

One more mighty plunge,^and with knee, limb, and hand 

I lift my horse first by a nose past the stand. 

We are under the string now — the great race is done — 

And Salvator, Salvator, Salvator won ! 

Cheer, hoar-headed patriarchs; cheer loud, I say; 

'Tis the race of a century witnessed to-day! 

Though ye live twice the space that's allotted to men, 

Ye never will see such a grand race again. 

Let the shouts of the populace roar like the surf, 

For Salvator, Salvator, king of the turf ! 

He has rivalled the record of thirteen long years; 

He has won the first place in the vast line of peers. 

'Twas a neck-to-neck contest, a grand, honest race, 

And even his enemies grant him his place. 

Down into the dust let old records be hurled, 

And hang out 2 :05 to the gaze of the world ! 



FORTUNE-TELLER AND MAIDEN. 

MRS. MARY L. GADDESS. 

[Costume Recitation.] 
Gypsy. T_J ARK ! my maiden, and I'll tell you, 
By the power of my art, 
All the things that ere befell you, 

And the secret of your heart. 
How that you love some one — don't you ? 

Love him better than you say ; 
Won't you hear me, maiden, wont you, 
What's to be your wedding-day: 
Maiden". Ah ! you cheat with words of honev; 

You tell stories, that you know ; - 
Where's the husband for my money 
That I gave you long ago ? 



AA 7 D RECITATIONS. 



Neither silver, gold, or copper 
Shall you get this time from me ; 

Where's the husband, tall and proper, 
That you told me I should see ? 

Gypsy. Coming still, my maiden, coming, 
With two eyes as black as sloes ; 
Marching soldierly and humming 
Gallant love-songs as he goes. 

Maiden. Get along, you stupid gypsy! 

I won't have your barrack-beau, 
Strutting up to me half -tipsy, 
Saucy, with his chin up so / 

Gypsy. Come, I'll tell you the first letter 
Of your handsome sailor's name. 

Maiden. I know every one, that's better, 

Thank you, gypsy, all the same. 

Gypsy. Ha, my maiden, runs your text so ? 
Now I see the die is cast, 
And the day is Monday next. 
Maiden. No, gypsy, it was Monday last ! 

Gypsy. Ah, you cheat; no wonder, maiden, 
You are smiling bright to-day, 
Will not heed the gypsy's warning, 
Turn and proudly go your way; 

For I see .a dark-eyed stranger 
Waiting with his merry smile ; 

? Tis no wonder, dainty lady, 
He can all your fears beguile. 

Maiden. Fare ye well, you naughty gypsy! 

Sailor-lads are not for me, 
Neither gallant soldier-laddies 
That you told me I should see. 



WERNER'S READINGS 



Somebody was waiting for mt 
With two eyes of bonny blue : 

He, gypsy, he, my lover, 
Has become my lover true. 



THE FISHERMAN'S WIFE. 



^HE wind bloweth wildly; she stands on the shore: 



She shudders to hear it, and will evermore. 
The rush of the waves as they rose and they fell 
Evermore to her fancy will sound like a knell. 

" When, mother, dear mother, will father return ? 
His supper is ready, the sticks brightly burn; 
His chair is beside them, with dry shoes and coat; 
I'm longing to kiss him — oh, where is the boat ? 

« Why does he not come with his fish on his arm ? 
He must want his supper, he cannot be warm; 
I'll stroke his cold cheek, with his wet hair I'll play; 
I want so to kiss him — oh, why does he stay?" 

Unheeding the voice of that prattler, she stood 
To watch the wild war of the tempest and flood; 
One little black speck in the distance doth float — 
'Tis her world, 'tis her life, 'tis her fisherman's boat ! 

Her poor heart beats madly 'twixt hope and despair, 

She watches his boat with a wild, glassy stare ; 

Ah! 'tis hid beneath torrents of silvery spray, 

Ah ! 'tis buried 'neath chasms that yawn for their prey. 

Over mountains of horrible waves it is tossed, 
It is far — it is near ; it is safe — it is lost ! 
The proud waves of ocean, unheeding, rush on, 
But alas! for the little black speck — it is gone! 




AND RECITATIONS. 



161 



Oh, weep for the fisherman's boat, but weep more 
For the desolate woman who stands on the shore! 
She flies to her home with a shrill cry of pain- 
To that home where her ]oved one returns not again. 

All night she sits speechless, her child weeping near, 
But no sob shakes her bosom, her eyes feel no tear; 
In heart-broken, motionless, stupid despair, 
She sits gazing on at his coat and his chair. 

Hark ! a click of the latch — a hand opens the door ; 
'Tis a step: her heart leaps — 'tis his step on the floor! 
He stands there before her, all dripping and wet, 
But his smile and his kiss have warm life in them yet. 

He is here, he is safe, though his boat is a wreck; 
He sinks in his chair, while her arms clasp his neck, 
And a sweet little voice in his ear whispers this: 
" Do kiss me, dear father, I long for a kiss \" 



HE moorland waste lay hushed in the dusk, of the second day, 



Till a shuddering wind and shrill moaned up through the twi- 
light gray; 

Like a wakening wraith it rose from the grave of the buried sun, 
And it whirled the sand by the tree (there was never a tree but 
one) ; 

But the tall, bare bole stood fast, unswayed with the mad wind's 
stress, 

And a strong man hung thereon in his pain and his nakedness. 
His feet were nailed to the wood, and his arms strained over his 
head; 

'Twas the dusk of the second day, and yet was the man not dead. 



LE MAUVAIS LARRON. 



GRAHAM R. TOMSOK. 




162 



WERNER'S READINGS 



The cold blast lifted his hair, but his limbs were set and stark, 
And under their heavy brows his eyes stared into the dark; 
He looked out over the waste, and his eyes were as coals of fire, 
Lit up with anguish and hate, and the flame of a strong desire. 

The dark blood sprang from his wounds, the cold sweat stood on 
his face, 

For over the darkening plain came a rider riding apace. 
Her rags flapped loose in the wind; the last of the sunset glare 
Flung dusky gold on her brow and her bosom broad and bare. 
She was haggard with want and woe, on a jaded steed astride, 
And still, as it staggered and strove, she smote on its heaving side, 
Till she came to the limbless tree where the tortured man hung 
high— 

A motionless, crooked mass on a yellow streak in the sky. 

"'Tis I— I am here, Antoine — I have found thee at last," she said; 
" Oh, the hours have been long, but long! and the minutes as drops 
of lead. 

Have they trapped thee, the full-fed flock, thou wert wont to harry 
and spoil ? 

Do they laugh in their town secure o'er their measures of wine and 
oil? 

Ah, God ! that these hands might reach where they loll in their 
rich array; 

Ah, God! that they were but mine, all mine, to mangle and slay! 
How they shuddered and shrank, erewhile, at the sound of thy very 
name, 

When we lived as the gray wolves live, whom torture nor want may 
tame. 

And thou but a man! and still a scourge and a terror to men, 
Yet only my lover to me, my dear, in the rare days then. 
years of revel and love! ye are gone as the wind goes by: 
He is snarea and shorn of his strength, and the anguish of hell 
have I ! 



AND RECITATIONS. 



16o 



" I am here, love, at thy feet; I have ridden far and fast 
To gaze in thine eyes again, and to kiss thy lips at the last." 
She rose to her feet and stood upright on the gaunt mare's back, 
And she pressed her full red lips to his, that were strained and 
black. 

" Good-night, for the last time now — good-night, beloved, and 
good-bye — " 

And his soul fell into the waste between a kiss and a sigh. 



HERE'S lots of folks that has good times, 



There's lots that never does; 
But the ones that don't like morning naps 
Is the meanest ever wuz. 
It's very nice to eat a meal 
With pie for its wind-up; 
'Tain't half so sweet 's th' nap pa spoils 
When he yells: " You git up!" 

I'd rether lay in bed and snooze 

Jest one small minit more, 

In the morning when the sunshine 

Comes a-creeping o'er the floor, 

Then to go to Barnum's circus or 

To own a bull-dog pup. 

The meanest thing pa ever said 

Wuz: " Come now — you git up!" 

I like to go in swimming, 
And I like to play base-ball; 
I like to fight and fly a kite, 



YOU GIT UP! 



JOE KERR. 




I sometimes like to bawl; 



164 



WERNER'S READINGS 



But them there forty winks of sleep 
Pa tries to interrup' 
Is better V all. It breaks my heart 
When pa yells: " You git up!" 

Fd stand the hurt and ache and pain 

And all the smart and itch 

Of having him turn the bed-clothes down 

To wake me with a switch, 

Ef he 'ud on'y jest go'way 

And let me finish up 

The nap I started jest before 

He yelled out: " You git up!" 

You bet when I git growed up big 

Es rich V old es pa, 

'W never haf to go to school, 

Nor work nor stand no jaw, 

Fll sleep all night and all day too, 

And only just git up 

When I git 'nough sleep to suit me, 

Ef all the world yells: " You git up!" 



THE KNIGHT AND THE LADY. 



ROBERTSON TROWBRIDGE. 



T N the brave old days of the Table Round 
There lived a night of illustrious fame, 
Who cherished a passion most profound, 
A truly romantic, chivalric flame, 
For a proud and beautiful lady. 
And she — accepted it all as her due, 

The knightly devotion so tender, so tried; 
But when for her love he ventured to sue, 

(( Who seeketh to woo me, must win me!" replied 
This most discouraging lady. 



AND RECITATIONS, 



165 



Sir knight, you must wander a year and a day ; 

You must seek for adventures beyond the seas? 
You must enter a castle enchanted, and slay 

Three dragons. And, having disposed of these. 
You may then come back for your lady!" 

So the good knight went, as in duty bound. 

He wandered many a weary mile; 
Adventures enough ancl to spare he found, 

And he met and braved them all in a style 
That would quite have delighted the lady. 

Castle and dragons, he found them too, 
And settled their fate with small delay; 

In short, he carried the program through 
To the last poor end of the year and a day. 

But he never came back for the lady ! 

Fair maiden, whose lover brave and true 
Goes forth, at your word, to seek a name, 

Or honors, or riches, or rank for you ; 

Take care! for perhaps he may do the same, 

And gain the place, and the wealth, and the fame, 
But come not back for the lady! 



LEGEND OF THE WILLOW-PATTERN 

PLATE. 

J I-CHI was a maiden with nothing to do 

But to sit still and dream, or sip tea (without cream), 
Or give ear to the coo of her doves (there were two), 
Or eat sweetmeats, her fondness for which was extreme. 

Her pa was a mandarin, wealthy and great, 

And pompous withal, a position so big held he; 

His house and estate may be seen in the plate, 

Though portrayed in a style somewhat higgledy piggledy. 



166 



WERNER'S READINGS 



The trees, some like feathers and some like piled stones, 
Are quite a burlesque of the science of botany; 

For Hooker would swear by Linnseus's bones 

That like them in nature there surely are not any. 

How like a bird's claw spreads the uncovered root 
Of the comical willow ! But queerest of trees is 

The one on the right, from whose waving arms shoot, 

Not leaves, but great puddings, as round as Dutch cheeses. 

But perhaps it's too bad to make fun of old crockery 
(A lengthy digression's undoubtedly wrong) ; 

And our story still less is a subject for mockery: 
It is so pathetic, though not very long. 

A young man named Chang, with a lovely pigtail, 
Kept the mandarin's books of receipts and expenses; 1 

And Li-Chi at his step would turn red and then pale, 
And a general commotion would steal o'er her senses. 

For when a young lady has nothing to do 
But to sit still and dream, as related above, 

The chances at least are as twenty to two 
That her favorite dream is of falling in love. 

And their eyes having met — how or why they knew not — 

As she sat in a balcony fondling a kitten, 
Li-Chi was enamored of Chang on the spot, 

And Chang, in like manner, with Li-Chi was smitten. 

What happened was quickly suspected, because 

Li-Chi every day grew more pensive and " moony ;" 

And Chang couldn't long hide the fact that he was 
What the unsympathetic are apt to call spoony." 

With blushes as soft as the tints of the dawn are, 
She heard his fond vows — but, unluckily, so did 

Her pa, who then chanced to be just round the corner; 
And on Chang, with a bang, his displeasure exploded. 



AND RECITATIONS, 



Said he, in deep tones, like the sound of a gong, 

"These fine goings-on I object to in toto ! 
What next ? Go along! Get you hence to Hong-Kong! 

Or (the farther the better) the moon you may go to!" 

But as that destination was not to his mind, 

Chang fled to his own island home with his fair one; 

(A view of it, drawn in the pattern, you'll find, 

Close to where the horizon would be, if there were one). 

This hearing, the mandarin, snatching a whip, 

Up and down his domains began wildly to tear about; 

His mustache (that had hung like rats' tails from his lip) 
Bristling up at an angle of forty or thereabout. 

Then, with language profane, and with threats of the cane 

Applied in the manner they call bastinado, 
He went in pursuit of Li-Chi and her swain — 

What less could a parent who would be obeyed do ? 

Now the conjurer's art and electro-biology, 

And such things, are wondrous and strange; but you'll see it 
A fact, if you'll turn to your heathen mythology, 

That they're fairly outdone by the tricks of the deities. 

Only think of the self-transformations of Jove . 

(Who, if mortal, I fear would be thought a sad dog), 
When, in search of adventures, he sometimes would rove 

Far from heaven, and wanted to travel incog./ 

So the gods, looking down through the gathering mists 
At eve, saw the lovers, whose plight so concerned them 

That, to shield them in peace from the mandarin's fists, 
They graciously into two turtle-doves turned them! 

At the top of the pattern you'll find them depicted, 

Each with two pairs of wings; but you're left to imagine 

The kicks upon innocent people inflicted, 

And the uproar the mandarin vented his rage in. 



168 



WERNER'S READINGS 



And of such a surprising romance of devotion 
As the quaint Chinese pattern's designed to perpetuate, 

You'll freely confess that you hadn't a notion, 
When last off a plate of a blue-willow set you ate. 



MY LOVE. 



TV/f Y love (dear man !) turns in his toes, 

My love is tangled-kneed, 
Cross-eyed, left-handed, hair and beard 

In hue are disagreed ; 
He has no soft and winning voice, 

No single charm has he; 
And yet this awkward, ugly man 

Is all the world to me. 

My neighbor Gay rejoices in 

A beauty of a man : 
Straight-limbed, fair-faced, and find his peer 

She knows no mortal can. 
I look upon his handsome form 

And own 'tis fine to see; 
But turn back to the homely man 

Who's all the world to me. 



There's Mrs. Flirt and Mrs. Chat, 

Each with their cavalier; 
They smile and wonder how I can 

Call such a fright " my dear." 
But it is just as strange, I think, 

Jiow they can happy be 
Without my homely man, for he 

Is all the world to me. 



AND RECITATIONS. 



Don't ask me why, I cannot tell; 

'Tis all as mystery; 
Fve sought myself a thousand times 

Its secret history. 
Meanwhile, my heart grows sad to think 

How drear this world would be 
Without this awkward, homely man 

Who's all the world to me. 



HPHEY were sitting by the fireside, 

On a very frosty night, 
And their heads were close together, 
And they talked of — well — the weather. 
Or, perhaps — the " Injun" fight. 

As their chat grew more engrossing 

$ear and nearer yet he drew, 
Tiil her fair hair brushed his shoulder* 
And in trembling tones he told her 
Of the — sorrows of the Sioux. 

Then he put his arms about her 

In the dimly lighted room, 
And they saw naught but each other, 
Never heard her bad, small brother 

Stealing softly through the gloom, 

Till a flash dispelled the darkness, 
And a shrill voice cried with glee: 
u Caught your photo— you and sister; 
Pa will like to know you kissed her — - 
Buy the negative from me 



CAUGHT. 



K. E. BARRY. 




WERNER'S READINGS 



CATCHING THE CAT^ 



MARGARET VANDEGRIFT. 



*T^HE mice had been in council; 

They all looked haggard and worn ; 
For the state of things was too terrible 
To be any longer borne. 

Not a family out of mourning; 

There was crape on every hat ; 
They were desperate; something must be done, 

And done at once, to the cat. 

An elderly member rose and said: 

" It might prove a possible thing 
To set the trap which they set for us— 

That one with the awful spring." 

The suggestion was applauded 

Loudly by one and all, 
Till somebody squeaked : " That trap would be 

About ninety-five times too small." 

Then a medical mouse suggested, 

A little under his breath, 
They should confiscate the very first mouse 

That died a natural death, 

And he'd undertake to poison the cat 

If they'd let him prepare that mouse. 
'' There's not been a natural death," they shrieked, 
" Since thu cat came into the house." 

The smallest mouse in the council 

Arose with a solemn air, 
And by way of increasing his stature ■ 

Eubbed up his whiskers and hair. 



AND RECITATIONS. 



He waited, until there was silence 

All along the pantry shelf, 
And then he said with dignity: 

" I will catch the cat myself ! 

" When next I hear her coming, 
Instead of running away, 
I shall turn and face her boldly, 
And pretend to be at play. 

** She will not see her danger, 
Poor creature, I suppose; 
But as she stoops to catch me — 
I shall catch her by the nose !" 

The mice began to look hopeful, 
Yes, even the old ones; when 

A gray-haired sage said, slowly : 

" And what will you do with her then 

The champion, disconcerted, 
Replied with dignity: " Well — 

I think, if you'll all excuse me, 
'Twould be wiser not to tell. 

u We all have our inspirations/' 

(This produced a general smirk,) 

" But we are not all at liberty 
To explain just how they work. 

"I ask you, then, to trust mo; 

You need have no further fears; 
Consider the enemy done for." 
The council gave three cheers. 

" I do believe she's coming," 

Said a small mouse nervously; 
" Run, if you like," said the champion, 
" But I shall wait and see." 



WERNER'S READINGS 



And sure enough she was coming. 

The mice all scampered away, 
Except the noble champion 

Who had made up his mind to stay. 

The mice had faith (of course they had!) — 
They were all of them noble souls, — 

But a sort of general feeling 
Kept them safely in their holes, 

Until some time in the evening, 
When the boldest ventured out, 

And saw happily in the distance 
The cat prance gaily about. 

There was dreadful consternation, 
Till some one at last said: "Oh! 

He's not had time to do it; 
Let us not prejudge him so." 

"1 believe in him, of course I do," 

Said the nervous mouse, with a sigh; 

" But the cat looks uncommonly happy, 
And I wish I did know why." 

The cat, I regret to mention, 
Still prances about that house ; 

And no message, letter, or telegram 
Has come from the champion mouse. 

The mice are a little discouraged, 
The demand for crape goes on; 

They feel they'd be happier if they knew 
Where the champion mouse had gone. 

This story has a moral; 

It is very short, you see, 
So no one, of course, will skip it 

For fear of offending me: 



AND RECITATIONS. 



173 



It is well to be courageous 

And valiant and all that; 
But if you are mice, 
You'd better think twice 
Before you catch the cat. 



A LEGEND OF ARABIA. 



A LONG the oasis the slender palms 

Stretched their clear shadows, till the fierce red sun 
Dropped suddenly behind the shifting hills, 
And all fell prostrate, then, in silent prayer. 
Now, busy preparations for the night — 
Unburdening the gaunt, weird earners load, 
Pitching the flapping tents, while over all 
Arose the oval of the moon ineffable. 
Silent, with fragrant pipes, the circle sat 
And listened to the story-teller's lore 
In the strange golden light, intense as flame, 
That made another and a deeper day. 

There was a youth, he said, utterly base. 
Ere he could speak he tortured gentle beasts, 
Deprived the patient camel of its food, 
And made the children fear him in their play. 
Wily as the hyena in his lies, 
Untamable as lions of the waste, 
He drew too many after him, as winds 
Draw the long reaches of the desert sands. 
As he grew older, speech could never tell 
His vices; he became the village scourge, 
The byword ; every lip was curled at him ; 
Disgust and fear looked on him as he passed. 

Ere he became a man he was accursed, 
Till all the tribe met solemnly one day 



WERNER'S READINGS 



To try the criminal; then drive him forth 
From out their company, a wanderer. 
They sat in grave judicial circle there, 
Hushed for a while, and in the midst he stood, 
To hear his sentence— he, the vile, the lost 
From the revered assemblage of his kin. 
Then rose an ancient and gray-bearded man, 
Accusing him of despicable crimes; 
Another followed, heaping on his head 
Words of intolerable mockery. 

Calm, low, and bitter, then, his brother spake; 

Each rose in turn and told his black disgrace; 

His father thundered forth his hideous shame, 

And all the elders of his family. 

" Why, then," exclaimed the musical, deep voice 

Of the old sheik, " shall we not drive him forth 

Into the desert, there to dwell alone 

With brutes, whose brother he has learned to be ?" 

" Why not ?" exclaimed a voice, and forward sprang 

His mother, pale and passionate. *' Why not? 

He is my child ! This horror shall not be ! 

There still is life, is hope, for he is young ! 

It cannot be that I have born a fiend; 

And if a devil hath possessed my boy, 

Love may yet drive it forth ! A miracle 

May yet be wrought for him. There yet is time t 

Will ye not wait ? Will ye be patient yet 

A little while ? Have I not waited long, 

And borne the torture and the misery, 

Aye ! the chief burden of this weight of grief ? 

Hoping, still hoping, through the weary years; 

Hoping, still hoping, even now when ye 

Would drive him forth, ye holy, from your sight, 

Would scourge him to the desert, there to die. 



AND RECITATIONS. 



175 



Wait ! wait another year ! another month ! 
Another day ! Your faces are all hard; 
Your eyes are cruel. He shall not go forth ! 
Or if he goes, I go and follow him !" 

The boy, for he was little more, stood by, 

His wild eyes on his mother as she fell 

Prone, supplicating, fainting in the dust, 

While one dry sob burst from her burdened heart. 

Then he, too, knelt, who never yet had knelt, 

And humbly prayed for still one trial more. 

His face was changed, his eyes were dim with tears; 

He took his mother's band, and raised her up. 

Deep grew the silence of that company; 

They gave no sentence, but each man arose 

And quietly stole forth, and left them there 

Alone in the tribunal, uncondemned. 

And in that self-same hour was her reward; 

Then came the miracle she waited for, 

The strange new birth, the spirit's morning star; 

Her faith had saved him, and the end was — peace ! 



CLEOPATRA'S PROTEST. 



Lie close to my side, and lend me your passion that poison taints, 
While I ponder the perjured picture the world of your mistress 



The features and life it has painted and chiselled and molded and 



Of Egypt's Cleopatra in every land and tongue ; 



EDWARD LIVINGSTON" KEYES. 




paints ; 



sung 



176 



WERNER'S READINGS 



On canvas, crystal, china, in bronze and brass and gold ; 
In malachite and marble, on coins and medals old ; 
In verse and prose and ballad, in history manifold, 
The face and life of Egypt's queen are drawn and carved and told. 
In this galaxy of artists, in this gallery of art, 
Where chisel, brush, and pen have vied to do their perjured part, 
I see no shade nor shadow, no sign nor semblance see, 
Of her who stood at Actium with Koman Antony ! 
I fail to find the features, the force or spirit bold, 
Of her who sailed the Oydnus in her galley wrought in gold ; 
In the character they give me I trace no sign nor mood 
Of hers, who chose destruction to a life of servitude ; 
Who bared her bosom proudly and perished like a queen, 
Preferring death to Caesar, and the grave to Eoman spleen ! 
But I see the spiteful venom that guided steel and hand, 
That tarnished as it tinted, and poisoned as it planned. 
I see the jealous envy that shaped each curve and turn 
Of chisel, brush, and pencil ; but naught of truth discern ; 
And I see what they have made me, I cannot help but see, 
For what the senseless stone omits is found in history. 
The seal they set upon me of sumptuous sin and shame, 
They stole from frail Aspasia's brow and Grecian Phryne's name. 
I see the perjured picture ! I see the wanton vile 
They show for Cleopatra — " the serpent of the Nile 
And the eager world in earnest the lying trick respects, 
And down through coming ages the truthful type rejects ; 
But I scorn to see the semblance in the picture that they draw 
Of her who held Eome captive, and whose wish was Egypt's law ! 
I would bid them go remember, that she whom they revile 
Spurned the love of laurelled Caesar, when he sought her by the 
Nile, 

And offered fame and station, and the sovereignty of Rome, 

If she would yield the conquest, and say she was his own ! 

That she sent him back, with others, in their regal robes unmanned, 

Who had come as hopeful suitors for Cleopatra's hand, 

And bade them lay their treasures at the feet of one more free 



AND RECITATIONS. 



177 



Than the spouse of Rome's Triumvir — the God-like Antony ! 
I would tell them that the pious prude, Octavia, whom they raise 
Upon the highest pinnacle of purity and praise, 
Is not worthy of the worship they offer at her shrine, 
For she was never Antony's ; he always had been mine ! 
He took her from her regal home to carry out his part, 
But never to his bosom, and never to his heart; 
And all, all, all of Antony this haughty dame can claim 
Is the sacrifice he offered when he gave to her his name ! 
I would tell them that Octavia knew his spirit and his heart, 
His life, his soul, his destiny, his mind, his every part 
Was moored upon the Nilus, together with mine own, 
Before he ever saw her — by Caesar's wish alone. 
And she knew the gods of Egypt had smiled serenely down 
On the union of Rome's consul with Egypt's starry crown ! 
I would tell them she they blemished with the brand of sin and 
shame 

Would have scorned to call him husband who gave alone his name ! 
And had that haughty Roman dame the spirit of a dove, 
She'd have sent him back to Egypt, to her who owned his love. 

*i» Hz *f* »J» »i» *i* *i* 

I am weary ; leave me, leopard ! you cannot change your skin, 
Nor I the haughty spirit I showed to all save him. 
And I thank the gods of Egypt for their mercy which was shown 
In giving me Mark Antony for all, all, all mine own ! 
And I thank the god of waters for yielding me the tide 
That flooded old Nile's bosom, where we rode side by side ; 
And to those who call me "sorceress," and "serpent of the Nile," 
And to those who dubbed me " tigress," and everything that's vile, 
I would say your shafts fell harmless, for we were wholly one, 
And when the pulse of one did cease, the other's life had run. 
So I banish bitter feelings for all who did malign, 
For 'twas but human nature to envy bliss like mine ; 
And I rain forgiveness on them in pearly perfumed showers, 
And tell them that the western world knew naught of love like 
ours. 



178 



WERNER'S READINGS 



TRIED. 



LULAH RAGSDALE. 



TN the chamber anext me the corpses sleep, 

And the maidens are making them sweet with flow'rs, 
And the watchers wait, and the mourners weep, 
And I — keep count of the hours. 

It seemeth a year since the sun burned low, 
And the lamps began in that faint, pale way 

To nicker athwart those sheets that show 
The shapes that they overlay. 

It is scarcely a year since the morn I wed 

My lady, with face like an April bloom, 
And hair like a glory about her head, 

And breath like a spring perfume. 

My brother — there were of us but the twain, — 

He of the brow like a polished stone, 
Whereon there has fallen no shadow nor stain, 

Nor blemish nor line is shown. 

My brother grew grave on my bridal day ; 

He was young, he was tender, men loved to swear; 
And he said with a sigh, in his gentle way : 

" This lady is very fair. 

" Scarce but a child by the count of her years, 

Albeit she shineth so stately white; 
And thy face bears witness of time and tears, 

Sad day and dolorous night. 

" Thy heart has been wedded to dreary lore, 

From the time when thou shouldst have laughed like me: 
And thou art content when the wild nights roar 

Round our castle anear the sea. 



AND RECITATIONS. 



" But she will be frighted and lone and chilled 
In the desolate dimness of this old place; 

In this ghostly silence her laugh '11 be stilled, 
Thy winter will blight her face." 

The flowers bloomed sweet at the altar shrine, 
And the taper lights poured an amber tide, 

The day that I wed; but that lady of mine 
Was pale as a statue bride. 

From the day that she entered the castle hall, 
She smiled not left, and she laughed not right 

But a glister chill as a snowy pall 
Turned her brow and bosom white. 

From my study, I marked her once on a day, 

Out in the lilies, her book above 
Lean over the pages, and twice, thrice lay 

Her lips to the lines, with love. 

I searched that book, for I fain had learned 
To gain a kiss such as it could claim, 

I found the tale by the leaf down turned— 
On its margin my brother's name. 

That even I said those lines in my talk 

As I passed those two, and she paled to snow, 

In the shine of the moon down the lily walk, 
Where she paced with him to and fro. 

In the dusk of the study another day, 

I found them standing, and all was hushed; 

Save that she sobbed in a low, hurt way, 
And her hand in his lay crushed. 

So this was the secret of things I swore, 

My brother was young, and my lady was fair; 

Both false! though a saint's brow this one wore, 
The other had angel's hair. 



WERNER'S READINGS 



At the wine and the play one night, when hot, 
My temples throbbed with their wonted ache ; 

Of a drug, kept dark in an ancient spot, 
One of the players spake. 

I sought that place foi the potent cure; 

A wizened alchemist let me in 
To his low, damp cell, on a street obscure, 

Remote from the dust and din. 

Scanning his labelless potions o'er, 

His withered hands, from a secret nook — 

First noting that he had barred the door — 
A drop in a phial took. 

" Ay ! many the poisons that men have tried, 
But this is the surest," he said to me ; 

" And strange are the deaths false women have died 
This brings the strangest," said he. 

"/Tis only used on the mouth, and then 
If that mouth be kept for a night or a day, 

Free from the press of the lips of men, 
The strength of it passeth away. 

" But pour it over a passioned lip, 

And let the crush of a heated kiss 
Warm the drug to its work, that sip 

Brings death as certain as bliss." 

"I would prove my love is the purest wed, 
She shall use your poison, and yet not die." 

"'Tis the only drop in the world," he said. 
" The sorer my need !" said I. 

As I reached the castle the sun went down ; 

I swear that her face was as pink as a rose, 
And bright with smiling ; I said, 'tis her gown, 

Or the flush that the sunset throws. 



AND RECITATIONS. 



I sought her chamber at dead of night, 

That smile and that blush had not yet gone ; 

She lay in a halo of silver light, 
And her brow like an anger's shone. 

I fell on my knees at her moon-bathed feet : 
"Jesu, the Pitiful ! prove her but mine;" 

I poured my tears on her bosom sweet, 
On her lips that poison fine. 

I rose with the first wan light of day, 
Across the garden her gown I traced, 

Gleaming white thro' that silent gray ; 
Her lilies I crushed in haste. 

Lying among them with upturned face, 
I found her as cold and crushed as any; 

But what if one finds in a garden place 
Some broken among the many ? 

A second path through the blooms I made 
To seek my brother ; he slept as yet. 

One quiet thrust of a keen, cold blade, 
And their speeding souls had met. 

And then I fell with a sudden pain ; 

A thousand agonies seized on me, 
And tore and knotted each throbbing vein, 

Till I could not hear nor see. 

When the spasms had ended, I found me here, 
Already those two they were shrouding there: 

And her maid was telling, with many a tear, 
This tale as she smoothed her hair: 

" My lady arose before it was day, 
Her husband, my lord, still soundly slept; 

And into the room where he always lay, 
Like a spirit in white she crept. 



182 



WERNER'S READINGS 



" I wondering watched as I saw her slip, 
And over his pillow lean low, and weep, 

And kiss him, his brow, and hair, and lip, 
And start as he stirred in sleep. 

" And oft have I heard her through nights of old, 
From her lattice lean toward the stars above, 

And weep that her lord was strange and cold, 
And she could not win his love. 

" His brother, ay ! he was her brother too, 
For often his comforting words I heard, 

And he meant to chide with my lord, I knew, 
But some thief hath stolen that word." 

'Tis the surest poison that men have made, 

But even death scorned me, let me go; 
Or sleeping the power of the drug I stayed, 

Or her angel willed it so. 

But I think, had I waked 'tween the dark and the gray 
To the touch of her lips, I had been forgiven; 

Had I kissed, as she kissed me at dawning of day, 
We had gone together to heaven. 



HER PR EFE RENCE. 

THEY stood on the beach by the billowy sea, 
And it seemed that the swift hours raced; 
For he was in love and so was she, 
And his arm was around her waist. 

" Oh, how I wish that we owned a yacht," 

Said he, in a wistful tone. 
" How happy we'd be, and how bright our lot, 

As we sailed o'er the seas alone." 

It was time right then, as it seemed to her, 

Her preference to avow; 
"For my part," said she, " I think I'd prefer 

A wee little smack just now." 



AND RECITATIONS. 



183 



A JAPANESE WEDDING. 



A BIT OF PANTOMIME. 



Arranged by Sara 8. Rice. 



DRAMATIS PERSONS: 



Go-Between. 



Groom. 



Bride. 



Groom's Father. 
Groom's Mother. 
Maids, Colored. 
White Robe. 
Colored Robe 
White Robe. 
Right. 



Bride's Father. 
Bride's Mother. 
Maids, White. 
Colored Robe. 
White Robe. 
Colored Robe. 
Left. 



Announcement to he made just before the Pantomime. 

IT is thought that a few words of explanation of this oriental 
wedding may help you to enjoy its festivities better ; and as 
our object is to give you pleasure, as well as add to our treasury, 
we will run over its outlines very hastily. First of all, it is very 
unlike our own beautiful Christian ceremony, as there is no priest 
or minister to ask God's blessing on the bridal pair, and never a 
word spoken during the whole ceremony. Everything is done by 
a person called a " Go-Between," a woman who acts the part of 
bridesmaid, priest, and general mistress of ceremonies ; although 
in the higher castes of society the bride is also attended by eight 
of her young friends, who correspond to the bridesmaids of our 
ceremony. Instead of preceding the bride, as with us, they enter 
after she has taken a raised seat prepared for her and the groom, 
and the parents of both, and, .as they enter, they prostrate them- 
selves with the most reverential salaams in front of the bride and 
the parents. 

The ceremony is largely made up of drinking a great many cups 
of tea, their favorite beverage. The eatables are small rice-balls, 
which no one eats till all are served, and then all eat at once ; and 
if the noise they make in eating is an indication of their relish, 
they must have appetites which we Americans know nothing of ! 
The bride's parents seem of little account at the wedding compared 
with those of the groom. There are only two presents made to the 
bride, and these by the groom's father and mother, — each a lacquer 
box filled with jewels ; the one thought being to decorate the per- 
son. The pledge which binds the happy pair together is made in 



WERNER'S READINGS 



the faintest whisper by the bridegroom to the " Go-between/' who 
delivers it to the bride in the same mysterious manner that she 
receives it from the groom. The duties of the bridesmaids seem 
to be to keep up a wonderful show of reverence on the occasion, as 
they are kept a good share of the time on their knees. 

The black patches observed on the foreheads of the ladies are 
marks of the highest caste among Japanese ladies, and no one else 
dares to put on the highly ornamental black patch. 

At the time of drinking, you will notice that they look intently 
into the bottom of their cups after draining the last drop. This is 
to see the image of the " God of Love," which is in the wedding- 
cup of every truly happily wedded pair. The ceremony concludes 
with the bride and groom drinking at the same time from a two- 
spouted teapot, which act declares to the assembled party that they 
will henceforth and forever live in peace and harmony, as husband 
and wife ; and we are creditably informed that the vow is seldom 
broken. 

This is said to be a correct representation of a Japanese wed- 
ding, and is vouched for by a lady who was for years a resident of 
Japan, and herself witnessed the ceremony. 

First, enter the groom's father and mother, then the parents of 
the bride, and take their seats, which are raised. Both enter from 
the right of stage, the men preceding their wives, followed not 
too closely by Go-Between, and close behind her the bride and 
groom, who together make a salaam, first to his father, and then 
rising, turn, and make one to her father. Go-Between steps for- 
ward from one side, takes bride by both hands and seats her, 
making at the same time a very low bow, groom sitting down at 
the same time. The bridesmaids now enter by pairs, one from 
either side of stage, one wearing a colored costume and one a white. 
They advance nearly to centre of stage, bow very low to each other, 
then together approach bride and groom, making a profound salaam, 
then to groom's parents, then to bride's parents, rising between 
each salaam. They then take the places on each side of the bridal 
party, kneel, and sit back on their heels, remaining so during cere- 
mony. But one pair enter at a time, the next following as soon as 
the preceding pair have taken their places. 

Salaams are made by kneeling and touching the forehead to the 
floor very slowly and deliberately. Bows and salaams are all re- 
turned by the bridal party^with a slight bow. 



AND RECITATIONS. 



185 



The Go-Between then goes out, and returns bringing a small 
table, with two-spouted teapot, and places in front of bride and 
groom ; she again retires and returns with small tray containing 
three small cups and a small teapot. She pours first for the groom, 
who drinks from all three cupe, laying head back and draining last 
drop, looking intently into each emptied cup, the last time showing 
to the bride with joyful expression, having found the god of love. 
Go-Between then pours three cups for bride, who goes through the 
same motions. Go-Between pours and hands each cup in turn, 
three cups for groom's father, who drinks in same manner and 
shows his wife ; then the bride's father does the same. Next, she 
pours one cup for each bridesmaid, who drains last drop, looks 
attentively therein, but does not show it. 

Go-Between carries tray out, returns, makes a salaam to the 
groom, then rises while he whispers his vow in her ear. Go-Between 
steps in front of bride and groom, who rise ; bridesmaids with one 
accord touch their foreheads to the floor and remain so while Go- 
Between, closely followed by bride and groom, pass off the stage 
to the right. As soon as they are out of sight, maids sit back on 
their heels as before and remain until Go-Between and the bride 
and groom pass behind curtain at the back of the stage, and re- 
appear at the left side of stage, when they again touch foreheads to 
the floor, and remain so until bride and groom take their places as 
before, being seated by Go-Between. The bride has before kept 
her head bent and veil down ; but now she sits on the other side of 
groom, with head up and veil thrown back, but with her back turned 
to the groom, facing his father, showing that she has entered his 
family. 

Go-Between retires, returns with table and tray containing one 
cup and teapot, placing it in front of groom's father, and takes her 
place behind bride and groom. Groom's father pours a cup of tea 
and drinks it ; bride does the same. He pours and drinks one 
more, and presents lacquer box, which she accepts with low bow, 
neither rising. Go-Between retires, brings in a tray of rice-balls 
(cocoanut drops), which she passes first to groom, second to bride, 
third to groom's parents, fourth to bride's rjarents, then to maids, 
none eating till all are served ; then begin k. *ng, each one smack* 



186 



WERNER'S READINGS. 



ing and making all possible noise with lips. Go-Between goes out 
witli tray, returns while rest are eating and takes her position 
behind bride and groom. When through eating, groom's father 
pours a cup of tea, drinks part, and hands to bride to finish. Then 
groom's mother gives her present in lacquer box, which is likewise 
received with a low bow. Go-Between, still standing behind, them, 
lifts two-spouted teapot, holds it between bride and groom, who 
take three drinks from it together. Of course this can only be 
done by making a pretense of drawing it through the spouts. Go- 
Between removes table from before groom's father, returns and 
leads bride and groom from stage, maids bowing as before and 
keeping foreheads down till all but themselves are off the stage. 
As soon as Go-Between and bride and groom are out of sight, 
groom's parents follow, then bride's parents, after which maids all 
arise, advance, one couple at a time, bow low to each other, turn 
and leave the stage. 

A call-bell is of service in telling the maids just when to rise. 
By kneeling and putting the toes together, one can sit on the heels 
a long time without fatigue. 

The ladies wear silk handkerchiefs around their necks, as many 
chain bracelets as can be had, except the bride, who must be in 
pure white. The hair is fixed as nearly as possible like the figures 
•on fans. All are powdered white, with spots of rouge on cheek- 
bones and chin ; cover your eyebrows with very thin white court- 
plaster, and mark the oblique eyebrows in cork. Drooping long 
mustaches are for the gentlemen. Dress the stage with fans, screens, 
etc., to represent Japanese interior. A slow march played behind 
the scenes during the ceremony will assist the performers. The 
ladies chosen should be dark and of low stature. Those wearing 
yellow vests belong to the mother-in-law ; the buff robe to the Go- 
Between. To remove the shoes makes the salaams much easier." By 
practice the two bridesmaids can move as one ; standing shoulder 
to shoulder will help very much in this particular. The chairs for 
the bride and groom should be high ; for the others, soap-boxes 
set on end and covered with drapery answer nicely. Go-Between 
stands. The stage must be arranged to admit the party's passing 
out at the right dtfd pa -entering at the left. 



Stanley Schell's Sketches 

Price, 25 cents each 



Apartment Hunting 
■At the Notion Counter 
■At the Restaurant 
[Bargain Day 
[Bargain Hunters 

Baseball- Game 
■Bicycle vs. Wolves 
|Black vs. White 
■Blue and White Polka-dot Shirt 
[Book Canvasser 
; Brave Man and a Toothache 
■Buying a Hat 

{Buying Rugs in a Department 

Store 
■Cheat 
■Cozy Corner 
KJaisy's Vacation 
De Wolf Hopper on Baseball 
Experience in Arcadia 
Cossiping Bridget 
Kotel Piazza Ladies 
How I Was Courted 
Kow Nell Gets Even 
Row She Helps Save 
I'm Engaged 
Icje Queen 

(nvitation to the City 
t Was a Miracle 
jjst a Bowery Newsboy 



Just Returned 

Leading Lady Seeking a Job 

Man She Loved 

Mary Ann Gilhuly 

Modern Queen Esther 

Mop Agent 

Mrs. Thompson Shops 

Pop! Pop! Why Don't You Pop? 

Public 'Phone 

Ravings of an Actor 

Revelations in Housekeeping 

Skippy's Vacation 

Slim Club 

Small Boy and a Suit of Clothes 
Society Butterfly and a Pudding 
Soldier's Golden Wedding 
Solving the Vacation Problem 
'Sylums vs. Fresh Air 
'Tis the Finish of the Play 
Told Over the Telephone 
Uncomplaining Married Man 
Up-to-date Proposal 
Up-to-date Saleslady 
Up-to-date Society Child 
Up-to-date Stenographer 
Village Seamstress 
Young Mrs. Bascom's First "At 
Home" 



Catalogue giving full description of above-listed 
STANLEY SCHELL'S SKETCHES, sent free on application. 

r list of additional writings by STANLEY SCHEIX, apply to the Publishers. 



Address the Publishers 

EDGAR S. WERNER & COMPANY 
43 East 19th Street, New Y-rk 



Graduation Day 

(Book 'also knowF as "Werner's Readings No. 55.") 

35c, in paper; 60c. in cloth binding 



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Contest Pieces 



on Graduation or Commencement Day 
for Graduation or Commencement Day 
for Graduation or Commencement Day 
for Graduation or Commencement Day 

by noted men for Graduation or Com- 
mencement Day 

for Graduation or Commencement Day, 

Prize Debating Day 
for Graduation or Commencement Day 

for Graduation Day or for Dramatic or 
Prize Speaking Day 



Nothing like this collection has ever before 
been published. Exactly suited to needs of 
schools and colleges. All this material (192 
pages) has been tested and proven satisfactory 
in school and college. 

EDGAR S. WERNER & CO., Publishers 
43-45 East 19th St., New York